NAIROBI, Kenya – Chad’s armed forces and Chadian and Sudanese rebel groups are recruiting children as young as 13 to become soldiers, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

The children are recruited from camps in eastern Chad, which has suffered a spillover from the Darfur conflict in neighboring Sudan, Amnesty International said.

Recruiters use family or appeal to the children’s ethnic loyalties to get them to join. Sometimes they use child soldiers already in their ranks to lure the new recruits with money, clothes and cigarettes, the report said.

Where money is used, recruiters are reported to have paid children between $20 and $500 to join. In some cases, the children are abducted and forced to join the armed forces or rebel groups.

“It is tragic that thousands of children are denied their childhood and are manipulated by adults into fighting their wars,” said Erwin van der Borght, Africa program director for Amnesty International. “This scandalous child abuse must not be allowed to continue.”

Attempts by The Associated Press to reach government officials in Chad for comment failed.

Children can be easily recruited because of poverty. Some agree to join to seek revenge for relatives killed, while others see it as a family obligation, the report said.

“I became upset because people were killing some of my relatives and pillaging our goods. While in the rebellion, living conditions were difficult but we had enough food,” one 17-year-old former child soldier told Amnesty. “What was the most difficult was taking part in the fighting. Many of us were my age. There is nothing joyful in the rebellion.”

The report is based on interviews with 41 former child soldiers and a range of officials from April 2009 to October 2010. Amnesty International quoted the former child soldiers anonymously to protect their safety.

Another former child soldier reported that he volunteered to join a rebel group when he was 14 years old without telling his family.

“At home we did not have enough for everyone, so I wanted to better our situation and join the army to help my family and my mother,” said the boy, who is now 18.

Not all of the child recruits fight, the report said. Some are used as porters or messengers for the soldiers and rebels.

Eastern Chad has suffered a spillover from the Darfur conflict in part because many rebels come from tribes that overlap the Chad and Sudan border. Some Darfur rebels have had bases in Chad, and the Chadian groups have had bases in Sudan.