By Dyan Mazurana and Susan McKay. 2001. The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, September/October.
The 1992 peace accords ending the bloody 16-year civil war in Mozambique called for the demobilizing of soldiers from both the government force, Frelimo (Front for the Liberation of Mozambique), and the rebel force, Renamo (Mozambique National Resistance). Throughout the war, children had been systematically kidnapped to fill out the ranks of each side. When the first soldier to be demobilized turned in his gun, the 16-year-old said he had been abducted by Renamo at age 9.
But it wasn’t just boys who were kidnapped. Young girls, too, were captured and forced into wartime service. The girls were treated as sexual property, allocated to soldiers as “wives,” distributed as rewards for good soldiering, or given to local chiefs. When the fighting finally stopped, men and boys entered demobilization camps for rehabilitation and reintegration into society. The girls were often forgotten.