Reintegrating the Child Soldier With His Society
by Ishamail Mansaray, age 25, Youth Coordinator IOGT-Sierra Leone.
Upon asking the victims of a war like the Sierra Leonean rebel war about what must be done with the child soldier, what the utmost spontaneous answer one gets is kill him like he has been doing to our relations.
But following the numerous contributions that come from different representatives of diverse interest groups, our organizations yearn for peace, has arrived at the conclusion that we do not have to be repulsive to such children as in most situations these children are forcefully recruited to fight. Some children talk of those they see as their godfathers.
One child combatant narrated how he was ordered to kill his own father, mother and other family members.
After such an ordeal, the child was drugged and taught the lesson of spearing no soul.
So he went on killing, this time senselessly and with no remorse. According to another child, like he was made to drink the blood of his parents after they had been shot by another tiny gun toting boy. These and many more have been the tales that continue to come out of Sierra Leone crisis.
Thus we arrived at the conclusion that since these children most times carry out atrocities absent mindedly and very much against their wish, we must always endeavor to encourage such children to see reason in abandoning their weapons of destruction and become part of the society so far we have been successful in turning some of these former fighters into decent, responsible, useful and peaceful citizens. Above all we have encourage the public in accepting these prodigal children as we turn over a new page in the history of our country.
Above all, let those who over the past few years have inflicted pain and suffering on others repent, and those who have suffered forgive the wrongs done to them, so that we can have genuine reconciliation to build a united country. Together we shall lift our nation out of the ashes of war to the pinnacle of reconciliation and a sustainable peace.