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They Fight to Defend Their Country: forgotten teen soldiers of Sarajevo.

alain canaque | Bosnia and Herzegovina

It was not unusual for girls and young women to take an active part in the Bosnian conflict.
Ramiza Variz, born 1976, from Sarajevo was younger than 16 when she and her older sister joined the BiH government army. She spent four years in the force, and was deployed to numerous front-line areas. She still bears a scar from a wound she suffered in 1993.

Several thousand child soldiers voluntarily joined military and police units on all three warring sides in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.
Associations of former child soldiers from the former Yugoslavia estimate that around 10,000 people under the age of 18 – some even as young as ten – participated in the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The laws in force in the former Yugoslav states at the time did not allow anyone under the age of 18 to be mobilised in the event of armed conflict. However, there was no explicit law prohibiting minors from joining up voluntarily.
There are no official figures for how many people under the age of 18 fought in BiH, or their age and sex distribution. Two decades since the conflict started, the exact number of children who fought in it remains unknown.

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