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Amnesty: Yemeni Rebels Recruiting Child Soldiers

  • VOA News

A Yemeni artist works on a mural as part of a campaign to end the recruitment of child soldiers by tribal militias in the capital Sana'a, April 10, 2014.

Yemeni Houthi rebels are recruiting child soldiers, some as young as 15, to fight on the front-lines in Yemen, according to human rights group Amnesty International.

Family members of four boys, all between the ages of 15 and 17, told the rights group the boys had been recruited by the rebels in Sana’a.

According to the report released Tuesday, two of the boys were recruited by a Houthi representative at a religious school without the knowledge of their parents.

“It is appalling that Houthi forces are taking children away from their parents and their homes, stripping them of their childhood to put them in the line of fire where they could die," Samah Hadid Deputy Director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office said.

All four of the boys’ parents found out they had been recruited by the rebels after some neighbors told them they saw the boys, along with six others, boarding a bus at a Houthi recruitment center.

One of the family members told Amnesty people in Yemen are afraid to speak up when their children are taken by the rebels because they fear reprisals.

Since March 2015, the United Nations has documented nearly 1,500 cases of children being recruited by all factions fighting in Yemen. A Saudi-led coalition is fighting the rebels to try to restore an internationally recognized government.

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