"Dallaire says Canadian troops must be prepared for child soldiers"

The Globe and Mail:

[Retired general Roméo Dallaire] said Canadian soldiers must learn how to defuse or de-escalate confrontations with child soldiers rather than withdraw from such incidents. Otherwise, he said, they play into the hands of belligerent forces who use children to fight precisely because unprepared foreign troops are reluctant to shoot children and confused about how to deal with them. “Pulling away … has been so much the norm and gives the advantage to the guy who is recruiting these kids.”

The Globe and Mail reported on March 6 that the Trump administration has told Ottawa it has no problem with Canada dispatching soldiers on a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Mali, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is holding back approval as he assesses the risks of fighting Islamist rebels who use child soldiers.

It seems to me that a country being more hesitant to address a situation if child soldiers are present also makes it more likely for opponents to use child soldiers are part of their strategy. Some of these situations you might be able to (literally) defuse with better training, but it seems inevitable than there will be limits to the effectiveness of any training program that might be developed. I wonder if this might explain why Boko Haram is increasingly using children as suicide bombers.