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Atrocities Haunt DRC Child Soldiers

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by X-PASTER, Oct 24, 2009.


    X-PASTER Moderator

    Oct 24, 2009
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    Atrocities Haunt DRC Child Soldiers


    Militia brigades abducting children and forcing them to become soldiers, porters and sex slaves is a huge problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

    In the last few months, fighting between the DRC army and Rwandan Hutu rebels and other militias has intensified.

    Aid agencies describe the situation as catastrophic, warning that recruitment is on the rise.

    Reporting from Goma in the DRC, Al Jazeera's Mohammed Adow found that the children go through a terrifying ordeal in the sense that they are trained to kill almost as soon as they are recruited.

    One tactic favoured by the militia is to force the child to murder a member of his own family, he said.

    There are doubts whether such children will ever recover from their experience at the hands of the rebels - even if they escape, it takes time and a lot of rehabilitation before they are ready to go back to their families.

    Dede Amanor Wilks, Action Aid's international director for West and Central Africa, has spent time talking to child soldiers in the DRC.

    She told Al Jazeera that the problem is, when child soldiers manage to escape the militias, or are rescued, they are seen as evil doers. So if anything happens, people immediately point to these young people and say it must be them.
    "The danger is that people who have suffered abuse sometimes become the abusers themselves. That's why the issue of reintegration is so important."

    "All societal norms have been broken down here. Rape and the recruitment of child soldiers has almost become a normal fact of life."

    Source: Al Jazeera