The intra and inter-ethnic conflicts in Africa generated mainly by the vestiges of colonialism which include resource control, border dispute, etc, has continued to be a source of set back to Africa’s development. Its consequence is also the threat to the continent’s hope and future, the African child, who is not only affected by these wars as the victim, but also exposed as a combatant. In the aftermath of wars, demobilization and. reintegration programmes of child soldiers, key to the rebuilding of the lives of these children, are almost non-existent in the continent, while few peace treaties recognize the existence of child soldiers, or make provisions for their rehabilitation and reintegration into society. Many former child soldiers do not have access to the educational programs, vocational training, family reunification, or even food and shelter that they need to successfully rejoin civilian society. As a result, many end up on the street, become involved in crime, or are drawn back into armed conflict.
This work examines the use of children as combatants in conflict in Africa especially sub-Saharan Africa. It investigates the root causes of this phenomenon; the consequences as well as prospects for curbing the practice. The paper argues that the phenomenon is entrenched by the lack of adequate and functional International Laws and treaties dealing with the issue. It also argues that until the phenomenon is seen as crime against humanity and the culprit-leaders tried and punishment, the problem will not abate.