Alert over increase in FARC recruitment of child soldiers

Colombia’s ombudsman on Sunday rang the alarm about an alleged increase in recruitment of child soldiers by guerrilla group FARC in the east of the country.

According to Ombudsman Jorge Otalora, guerrillas of the FARC’s 16th and 44th fronts have entered schools in some 23 villages in the Vichada and Guainia departments, and have been offering money to lure the children to join the rebel ranks.

In one case registered by the Ombudsman’s Office, armed men entered a school and took 12 children.

The increase in the recruitment of minors coincided with an increase of FARC attacks on police stations in the remote region, said Otalora.

The FARC have long allowed children to enter the ranks of the guerrilla organization. The recruitment of children is considered a war crime by international humanitarian law.

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