This report draws on field work conducted over the course of four Human Rights Watch research missions to conflict zones of eastern Chad since January 2006.1 Human Rights Watch researchers have noted the use of child soldiers in the Chadian National Army (ANT), ANT-integrated rebel forces (namely the FUC), village-level self-defense forces, and two Sudanese rebel movements: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the G-19 faction of the Sudanese Liberation Army (SLA). Each of these armed groups acts in defense of the Chadian government, yet this report will focus primarily on the use and recruitment of child soldiers by the ANT and the FUC. It does not encompass Chadian rebel groups actively fighting the Chadian government.
All child soldiers referred to in this report are male unless specifically identified as female. A child is considered to be anyone under the age of 18.
Due to the sensitive nature of the research, Human Rights Watch has withheld the names of most interview subjects, as well as contextual information such as military rank or interview location when such information might compromise a sources identity. Sources inside the Chadian military insisted on strict conditions of confidentiality and secrecy, eschewing mobile phones for fear of surveillance and arranging meetings via third parties. In some cases pseudonyms have been used to conceal the identity of interview subjects.
1 See Human Rights Watch, Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad, no.2, February, 2006, http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/chad0206/; Human Rights Watch, Violence Beyond Borders: The Human Rights Crisis in Eastern Chad, no. 4, June 2006, http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/africa/chad0606/; Human Rights Watch, They Came Here to Kill Us: Militia Attacks and Ethnic Targeting of Civilians in Eastern Chad, vol. 19, no. 1(A), January 2007, http://hrw.org/reports/2007/chad0107/.