12 Jan

The African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) expresses deep concern over the surge in the recruitment of child soldiers in the Darfur region, specifically in Central Darfur since the outbreak of the armed conflict in April 2023. ACJPS is reliably informed that the recruitment, mainly by the Paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) follows the same methodology used by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) in the remobilization of the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) in Darfur following its calls to join them. The recruitment of child soldiers to join the RSF is facilitated by the native administration members who are either in the PDF or are RSF officers.

On 13 November 2023, the RSF released a video of a man named Ahmed Adam Abdul Gadir, aged 60 years old. Mr. Ahmed used to work as a coordinator in the PDF in North Darfur. He is the mayor of Azgrfa village occupied by the Barti tribe. ACJPS documented Mr. Ahmed’s arrest by RSF on 20 September 2023 while on his way back from the Umkadada locality, located East of El-Fashir, the capital of North Darfur State. In the video, Mr. Ahmed talks about his role in the mobilization of PDF members in North Darfur to join SAF following a request from a Sudanese Military Intelligence high command officer.

ACJPS monitoring indicates that recruitment of child soldiers by RSF in Central Darfur state is facilitated by the native administration members affiliated with RSF after the break out of the April 2023 war. ACJPS documented the recruitment of two child soldiers in Zalingi city along with their father in the RSF rank. Both children got injured while participating in the armed fight. Several other child soldiers have been seen at RSF checkpoints. During monitoring, ACJPS confirmed the presence of at least ten child soldiers at checkpoints in the town bridge of Zalingi and in front of the appeal court building.

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