Monday, April 04, 2011

Child Soldiers in the Congo

When we see negative images of Black people on our screens, we are not given the historical and economic context for these issues.

On Saturday, on What U Need to Know, we will be discussing African Networking. Click here to listen at 2 p.m. EST/7 p.m. UK time.

Saw a very interesting programme on Channel 4's Unreported World, "The Children Who Came Back from the Dead", about a charity that is rescuing child soldiers in Congo and returning them to their homes. The man who heads the charity is himself a former chid soldier.

You can still catch it on 4OD. Click here to watch it.

Many of these children were running away from abusive homes. Others were seeking somewhere where they could find security and would have enough to eat. But when they joined the militia, they were subjected to further abuse, as well as drugging and sexual attacks.

The area where this is occurring, which is known as the Great Lakes region of Africa, includes Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, all of which have seen some of the most vicious fighting in Africa over the past 15-20 years.

In the videos below, former child soldiers describe their experiences and the atrocities they were trained and required to commit. Obviously, this footage is very disturbing.

Child Soldiers Fighting in the DRC

The Life of a Child Soldier in Congo

Click here to read about Johnny Mad Dog, a film based on the experiences of child soldiers in Liberia.

See also: Africa United.

In Uganda, children are routinely abducted and forced to fight in the Lords' Resistance Army (LRA). For more about this, see Uganda Rising.

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