Children Enlist in African Religious Battles

Drew Henshaw:

An elderly Muslim met his end under a hail of rocks hurled from a Christian mob during a flare-up of religious hatred here in February. The first stone flew from a 13-year-old Boy Scout.

Children are being drawn into violence in new ways in several parts of Africa—including this country, Nigeria, and Somalia—as religious strife changes the face of conflict. The young have long occupied the front lines of civil wars on the continent, but most of those have ended.

Now, nations here confront a changing, more asymmetrical kind of conflict, featuring Islamic terrorists who use children as martyrs, or Christian lynch mobs who kill Muslims with help from neighborhood teenagers. That puts governments and aid workers up against boys like Anicet N’gueretoum, who aren’t quite child soldiers, but also not innocent kids anymore.