Children are being kidnapped to fight in the Central African Republic’s brutal war

"Whoever refuses to fight is killed," one child soldier said.
June 13, 2018, 7:40pm

At least 15 armed groups have seized control of most of the Central African Republic (CAR), forcing the country into chaos while they battle one another for natural resources.

The violence started to spread in 2013 when an alliance of Muslim rebel groups known as the Seleka ousted CAR's president. Now, the government controls little outside of the capital, Bangui, leaving more than half the country's population, some 2.5 million people, dependent on humanitarian aid for survival. The widespread battles also put children at risk of being turned into soldiers.

More than 13,000 children have been kidnapped and forced to fight since 2012, according to the U.N. One soldier, Didier Kire, said he was just 10 years old when he was captured by Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army.

"They said we have to win the fighting and kill a lot of enemies,” Kire told VICE News. “Whoever refuses to fight is killed.”

Last year, Kire fled the Kony's army during a battle with another rebel group called The Popular Front for the Rebirth of Central African Republic (FPRC), which later captured him. But instead of setting Kira free, they, too, made him fight.

This segment originally aired June 5, 2018 on VICE News Tonight on HBO.