LONDON – Sierra Leone’s government helped British private security service firms recruit former child soldiers to work as guards in Iraq from 2009, said a Danish academic who has spent years investigating the issue.
By 2009, with Iraq in chaos, impoverished Sierra Leone was looking for a way to engage its workforce, said Maya Mynster Christensen,
a researcher at the Danish Institute Against Torture who made repeated trips to the West African country.
“The government returned the men, many of them now in their late twenties and thirties, with money earned on their overseas deployment,” she said. But Christensen said this ran counter to Sierra Leone’s stated policy of demobilisation following the civil war.
Christensen’s allegations appear in a new Danish-made documentary, “The Child Soldier’s New Job”, which reveals that thousands of ex-soldiers were re-assigned to private security contractors in Iraq after the 2003 US led invasion.