Unfortunately, the use of drugged child soldiers is appallingly common
in Africa. Here are specific mentions of some of the kinds of drugs
that are used, including marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, hashish,
"Fifteen child soldiers from Sierra Leone who had been forced to fight
by rebels who drugged them with cocaine were among 2,500 refugees who
fled to Guinea this week, the United Nations said Friday... Fifteen
child soldiers have been identified, including at least two girls.
They had served for periods ranging from one to seven years with the
rebels or -- in one case -- with the Sierra Leone army.
'All said they had been heavily drugged with cocaine....They said they
had been captured by armed rebels and forced to fight as children,'
[UNHCR Spokesman Ron] Redmond added."
"Ibrahim probably has the dubious distinction of being the only Sierra
Leonean child to have fought in every single faction in the Liberian
civil war and then in every single faction in Sierra Leone's civil
war. All the acronyms he uses refer to the various groups in the two
In 1991, war entered our village. We had to flee to Liberia. Along the
way, I got separated from my mother and the rest of my family. My
father was already dead. The ULIMO rebels captured me, and I had to
join them. They took me to fight with them in Liberia. They gave me
one week of training and an AK47. Then I had to go fight with them on
the war front.
The first time I went into battle, I was afraid. But after two or
three days, they forced us to start using cocaine, and then I lost my
fear. We had to inhale the cocaine, but they also put it in our food.
When I was taking drugs, I never felt bad on the front."
Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep
"In Sierra Leone and in Liberia, the child soldiers were deliberately
put on drugs. According to a childcare worker: 'The factions use both
alcohol and drugs to control the kids. Children are given a mixture of
cane juice (from sugar cane) and gunpowder which makes them high and
is supposed to give them courage to go and fight at the front.' As in
another case a worker explained: 'Kids are often supplied with drugs;
marijuana is the most common drug, but kids are given cocaine too, and
cane juice and gunpowder, which can cause brain damage. Also the kids
talk about being given 'bubbles,' a tablet that is apparently an
amphetamine, an 'upper.' The theory apparently is that if a kid is
intoxicated, he'll be braver - jump over his friend's body and keep
Thus, many of those who are to be disarmed in Sierra Leone are
child-soldiers, who were often captured, forced to kill or be killed,
torture or be tortured, and are now drug addicts."
"For six years, young boys have been trained to sow terror throughout
the Liberian countryside. Used and manipulated by each of the six
factions, they have been willing to commit atrocities for a little
marijuana... Children who have put down their arms have to be disarmed
mentally and emotionally as well. Children at the care of CAP, a
religious group that works with the rehabilitation of the child
soldiers in Monrovia are addicted to marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines
or gun powder (the powder is taken out of the ammunition, burned and
mixed with rice, the juice of sugarcane or hashish)."
Robert Bourgoing, Journaliste Formateur
"During the civil war, Taylor relied on the force of 'child soldiers.'
Many had come to his militia because they were starving and/or
orphans. Often they were indoctrinated by being forced to kill their
own family or friends or by watching heinous tortures; they were also
drugged - sometimes given opium, cocaine or amphetamines; sometimes
they were doped with a brew of alcohol and gunpowder that has the side
effect of eating the brain."
"A Liberian boy who resists forced recruitment is told rebels will
begin killing a lineup of captured civilians, one by one, until he
agrees to join. After the fourth killing, he relents. Many children in
Liberia and other countries are fed drugs to make them fight more
ferociously, like Mohammed Sisay, a preteen soldier who became
dependent upon 'Bubbles,' as his comrades called the amphetamines fed
to them by their grown-up Liberian commanders. 'I began to fight the
war. I didn't feel discouraged or afraid. They made me invisible,' he
said. At night, they were given more drugs to make them sleep."
Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "liberia" + "soldiers" + "drugged"
Google Web Search: "child soldiers" + "liberia" + "cocaine"
Google Web Search: "child soldiers" + "liberia" + "marijuana"
Google Web Search: "child soldiers" + "liberia" + "amphetamines"
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