The children recovering from war in Colombia

  • 3 December 2013
BBC reporter Tom Esslemont sent Newsround this special report on what the future holds for Colombia's child soldiers

Imagine leaving your home, friends and family to fight in a war at just 13 years old.

It seems hard to believe but that's what's been happening to thousands of children in Colombia, South America.

The children are being forced to fight on the front lines of Colombia's war between the government and rebels.

The rebel army is unhappy with the government, and they recruit youngsters to help them fight for their cause.

Rebels sometimes offer children gifts like trainers and mobile phones to get them to join them.

But now more and more child soldiers are handing in their weapons, so they can try and have the sorts of lives other Colombian teenagers have.

The government has promised to take children who run away from the army to a safe place - a farm in the mountains. It's also warning others not to be tempted by gifts.

The rebel group and the government are now holding peace talks, and it's hoped this could one day mean all child soldiers are free to have normal lives.