Our writings section features stories addressing the issue of ChildSoldiers written by youth in Sierra Leone
The Impact of War On Child Soldiers
by Yousuf Conteh, age 16, iEARN-Sierra Leone
The story I am about to tell you is a vivid imaginary one based on the impact of war on child soldier. It on the other page, must have coincided with what happened to many of my young companions in Sierra Leone.
Abu once lived in a village called rogbaneh in port loko in the nothern province of sierra leone. When he was a kid he used to brag on how rich he would be after education, and how he would elevate his family from the plight they lived. but his aspiration turned into an adverse fate.
However, on the 13th of may 1995, the R.U.F rebels attacked their village just before dawn. He and seventy others were abducted by the rebels and forced to join the revolution or faced with death as an alternative. For the sake of his precious life, he decided to be part of the 'revolution'.
He was given all sorts of drugs to enable him to perform his acts effectively. He took part in several attacks; atrocities, like rapes, burning of houses etc. He played a leading role in the rebel incursion that occured in the city on January 6th 1999.
On July 7th 1999, the Government and the R.U.F rebels signed a Peace Treaty, to put an end to the war. As part of the treaty, child soldiers were released.release. Theyb were handed over to a Non Governmental Organization called Children Associated with War (CAW). This organization took care of him and his colleagues.
I must tell you then that Abu, a victim of circumstances, now wanted to transform his life to a better one through reintegration and faced with a new phenomenon.Reintegration started by enrolling into secondary school. At first, everything started well but as time passed gradually, he found it very difficult to to adjust himself back to society. Because of the fierce nature of the war, the general perception and attitude towards ex-child combatants is now clear; that is to snub any militaman, especially on the side of the rebels.
Once again, Abu's aspirations for reintegration became siunken into hopelessness. To salvage such aspiration, a Non Governmental Organization called SAVE THE CHILDREN mounted a campaign called NEVER AGAIN, to help tackle this problem. The NEVER AGAIN campaign became popular all over the country, whcih helped to persuade people to accept child soldiers back to society. For the past three months, apparently, life for chiild soldiers has progressed gradually.
In Peace and Reconciliation.