Re-Examining Voluntarism. Youth combatants in Sierra Leone

"This monograph will discuss the most important reasons, according to Sierra Leonean youth ex-combatants, leading to their decisions to join the army or rebel forces. These reasons are directly related to economic, educational and socio-political constraints, which receive little attention in the “victim” model. It is shown that the same constraints leading to the decision of many youths to join an armed faction also contribute to their prolonged stay, and after demobilisation, make them more likely to re-conscript. If these ‘root causes’ are not properly addressed in the post-war reconstruction phase and peaceful alternatives are not available, youths may have little choice but to pursue violent options once again."