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Former Ugandan Child Soldiers(12 images)

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  • Julia, 28. More than 10 years with LRA. Julia and her friend both left as children and have escaped as adults and mothers. For women like them it is more difficult to reintegrate back into the community. Its too late to go back to school, its difficult to remarry. But a lot has been done to make the community more understanding, and traditional cleansing ceremonies make things easier for those who return. ..DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda. ..Thomas, 15. Spend 3 months with the LRA. 'One night we had just gone to sleep - I recognised the area we were in, I knew we were close to my village - and then it started raining. Usually when it rains we would move because the rain would erase the traces, but the officers decided we should stay. The officers had a tent, but us children would sleep outside, but that night they forgot to tie me up. As quietly as I could I got up in the rain and started running' Thomas was one of the lucky ones to escape....DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda. ..Nora, 12 years. Spend 2 and a half year with the LRA. Like many other children Nora escaped when she was shot in the leg and abandoned by the LRA. But she also tried to escape while collecting firewood. 'A rebel caught me and brought me back to the camp. The comandar ordered 2 children to beat me. It hurt so much, and I started crying, he ordered me to stop crying, but I couldn't, it was only when the children beating me whispered for me to stop or they would be forced to kill me that I stopped'. ..DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • Helen - a former child soldier in a Gusco rehabilitation centre, Northern Uganda.
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda. ..Peter, 14. Spend nearly 2 years with the LRA. Peter was hit in the leg by shrapnel form a governemnent helicopter gunship and the rebels abandoned him. But he returned to bad news, and an uncertain future. 'My father has died while I was away, my family wont tell me how, he used to pay for my schooling and to teach me how to care for the land. Now there is only my stepmother, but she is old she cant care for me, I will have to care for her'...DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • two ugandan boys in rehabilitation centre. To facilitate the children's reintegration with their home communities Gusco provides them with mattresses, water cans and some food to take home. However before they go home they go through a traditional cleansing ceremony...Children in Save the children supported Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.
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  • Michael, 17. Spend 5 years with LRA. 'In a fight with the government I was shot in my leg, I spend several days abandoned in the bush in terrible pain. I ate leaves and drank water from the puddles, and sometimes I would faint. I was dragging myself along the in the mud and after some time, maybe a week, I came to a road, some locals took me to the hospital. I spend 3 months in hospital but I think my leg will be saved'
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.  ..John, 18. Spend 3 years and several months with the LRA. He managed to run away and returned to his village and school, but one night the LRA attacked and found him again 'I was so scared, because there is only one punishment for running away from the LRA, and that's the death sentence'. The rebels dragged him with them while beating him and discussing how best to kill him. But John was lucky. A superior in LRA decided to keep him alive, because he was well educated and an experienced soldier. 'I'm just so happy to be back and to still be alive, all I want is a job and the war to end'...DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.  ..Anthony, 18 years. Spend 8 years and 6 months with the LRA. 'The first time I saw a Ugandan army helicopter gunship, I was so scared and I shook so much I could not move. The only thing I could think off was my family and friends back home. Somehow I managed to hide. Around me I saw others being shot, one was hit in the belly and half of his body disappeared, another next to me lost his arm. They screamed for us to help them, but we hid from the helicopter. After a while the injured became quiet.' 4 died that day. Anthony spend so long with the LRA that death and killing became the norm, he himself has killed many time 'I have nightmares and see things, I am worried evil spirits will attack me'...DO NOT USE WITHOUT PERMISION.
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  • Charles, 18 - one of the young men who was abducted and spend years as a child soldier in the bush with the Lords Resistance Army. Now he is in the Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.
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  • Anna 19. Spend 10 years in the LRA. The rebels took many of the children to their bases outside of Uganda in Sudan, where there are frequent famines. 'Some years were particularly bad, we would be walking and people would just collapse, we would leave them to die and just continue, because we were to weak to pick them up. When it was worst the rebel leaders would take all the food, leave the rest of us to starve, so many people died' Anna escaped during a government attack...Women and Children who were abducted by the Lord's resistance army in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.
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  • Children in Save the children supported  Gusco rehabilitation centre in Gulu, North Uganda.  The transit camp was originally built to hold maybe 60 children, but with the fighting intensifying in the last 3 years more and more have fled. When I was there more than 250 children were in the centre, where they spend an average 3 weeks, while their families are traced. They have activities every day, film watching, group therapy, sewing for girls and debate clubs. .
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