Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Somalia

Publisher Child Soldiers International
Publication Date 2001
Cite as Child Soldiers International, Child Soldiers Global Report 2001 - Somalia, 2001, available at: [accessed 26 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.


Mainly covers the period June 1998 to April 2001 as well as including some earlier information.

  • Population:
    – total: 9,672,000
    – under-18s: 5,269,000
  • Government Armed forces: nil
    – Clan/Movement groupings in Somaliland (northern Somalia): 12,900 including United Somali Front; Somali Democratic Alliance; Somali National Movement (5,000-6,000); and the United Somali Party.
    – Clan groupings in Somalia include the United Somali Congress; Ali Mahdi Faction (10,000); Somali National Front; Somali Salvation Democratic Front (3,000); Somali Democratic Front; Somali Patriotic Movement (2,000-3,000); and the Maritime Security Force
  • Compulsory recruitment age: no functioning national government
  • Voluntary recruitment age: no functioning national government but children as young as 14 are known to volunteer
  • Voting age (government elections): no functioning national government
  • Child soldiers: indicated in various armed opposition groups
  • CRC-OP-CAC: no functioning national government able to sign/ratify treaties
  • Other treaties ratified: no functioning national government; ACRWC was signed in 1991 before government authority broke down
  • The use of child soldiers, including some as young as 10, is widespread by all forces involved in the conflict.


Somalia has been without a central government since President Siad Barre fled the country in 1991. Since 1991, there has been inter-clan fighting for control of the country, with no faction controlling more than a fraction of the territory. Under the initiative of Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh, a Conference for National Peace and Reconciliation in Somalia met in Arta, Djibouti in June 2000 with delegates representing all clans and a wide spectrum of civil society, including non-governmental organizations. In July 2000 the Conference adopted a charter for a 3-year Transitional National Administration and selected a 245-member Transitional Assembly. Adbiqassim Salad Hassan was elected as the Transitional President on 26 August and sworn in on 28 August 2000. In October 2000 Ali Khalif Gallayr was named Prime Minister.1738 The administrations in Somaliland and Puntland, however, do not recognise the results of the Conference, nor do several Mogadishu-based factional leaders. Inter-clan fighting continued in central regions of Hiran and Middle Shabelle, and the southern regions of Gedo and Lower Shabelle.


As noted above, all of the factions involved in the fighting are reported to use child soldiers.1739 The UN independent expert on Somalia has reported that children under the age of 15 are recruited by the militias, and some faction leaders recruit children as young as 10 years of age to serve as personal bodyguards.1740 The US State Department continues to report "boys as young as 14 or 15 years of age have participated in militia attacks, and many youths are members of the marauding gangs knows as 'morian' or 'parasites' or 'maggots'".1741

1738 US State Department, Human Rights Report 2000.

1739 Ibid; also Report on the situation of human rights in Somalia, E/CN.4/2000/110, para. 48.

1740 Ibid.

1741 Ibid.

Search Refworld