Small Boys' Unit (Liberia)

Country: Liberia
Details of Formation: The group was set up by Taylor as a rebel group in 1990. In 2000 it was first mention as a pro-government group but it is likely that it existed in some form since 1990 and therefore become pro-government when the interim ruling committee was formed in August 1995.
Details of Termination: The group ceased to be pro-government with the resignation of Taylor in August 2003.
Purpose: The militia was used to intimidate the population and harass Taylor’s political opponents during his time as president.
Organisation: The militia received orders from the Taylor government.
Weapons and Training: Weapons were provided by the government, in particular AK-47, because they were considered most suitable for children. The government trained the child soldiers in camps.
Size: --
Reason for Membership: Children were kidnapped and forced into becoming members. After being forcefully recruited, some received benefits, e.g. in the form of clothes or education. Growing up, many turned into loyal supporters of Taylor.
Treatment of Civilians: The militia was involved in attacks on civilians such as massacres and rapes. Its members intimidated citizens by showing presence on the streets and carrying threatening weapons.
Other Information: The age of the child soldiers ranges from six to 20. When the children got older they 'graduated' into other militia groups - such as the 'Cobra Unit' Group, which ceased to be pro-government on the resignation of Taylor in August 2003 and was part of the dis-armament programme organised by UNIMIL in 2004.
References: Wikipedia. ”Small Boys Unit.”