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Children's Testimonies

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Testimony of Akot Ana, a 13 year old girl abducted by LRA and escaped.
 
When they came to our home , I was asleep. Suddenly I heard a bung on the door and I knew these must be the rebels. Out of panic, I urinated on myself. As I was preparing to get out, I discovered some of the rebels were already in the house.
I was ordered to get out and I did.
I was ordered to get out and join the long line of captives and I did.
I was forced to kill a child who tried to escape and I did.
I was ordered to cut the neck and carry the head in my hand while looking in the face and I did.
I was ordered to smear my face with the blood of the stain child and I did,
I was ordered to eat food with my hands stained with blood and I did.
Worst of all I was ordered to become a wife to one of the rebel commanders and I refused,
I was then canned 250 strokes as a punishment for my decision.
I was left with nothing to think for myself. The only option was give in for everything.
All this I shall never forget in my lifetime history.It’s a bad and nasty experience for me and those who have undergone the same kind of treatment in the hands of the brutal LRA.
From Gulu to Kitgum town, to Lira town, Katakwi town, Soroti town and finally to Gulu. "It was not normal life for me and shall never ever be a normal life for any child to experience that" it says the girl. Walking to unknown destinations was not uncommon for everybody. Torture was the order of the day for those who failed to walk or unable to carry the loads given to them by rebels.
" I did not know I would see my family or friends again. All were gone feelings. I prayed to God just like Jesus prayed for human sins before his death." If this is what my vacation means then let your will be done." I thought I would not escape the wrath of death. But now I feel happy to rejoin my family members again. God bless all the Children who are still in captivity so that they come back home alive.
 
Christopher (age 12) Former child soldier. “The LRA rebel’s kidnapping and killing of children makes life very difficult in Gulu town. Sometimes kidnapped children are forced to kill their own parents. When you have killed your parents, life at home no longer has any meaning for you. But life in the bush is also difficult for someone of my age.  Studying is good for a child like me. But I was interrupted in primary four and our home has been burnt to the ground people are in internally refugee camps and I don’t think that life is very easy”.
 
Christopher (age 12) Former child soldier. “The LRA rebel’s kidnapping and killing of children makes life very difficult in Gulu town. Sometimes kidnapped children are forced to kill their own parents. When you have killed your parents, life at home no longer has any meaning for you. But life in the bush is also difficult for someone of my age.  Studying is good for a child like me. But I was interrupted in primary four and our home has been burnt to the ground people are in internally refugee camps and I don’t think that life is very easy”.
 

It was a Saturday when I met the 12 year old boy and started talking about the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel, (A rebel movement currently terrorizing Northern Uganda) in Gulu town. The boy had been abducted by the rebels at the beginning of 2002 and stayed with them until he was rescued by the beginning of this year 2004.
 
He told me that he had been sitting with his family around the fire when suddenly they were surrounded by the rebels. They abducted him and another boy. The rebels taught him to use weapons. And he witnessed many killings.
 
He and other children had to carry heavy loads. If a child’s load was too heavy or if the child was too clumsy, he would be beaten and sometimes killed. If you got out of the line or had swollen feet as a result of the long marches, you could be killed with bayonets or guns.
 
“My friend was once forced to participate in one of the killings” he said, one of the other boys had tried to escape when the rebels were on the way back from a kidnapping expedition. All the other children were given big sticks and ordered to beat the boy to death. My friend was very afraid that the dead boy’s spirit would pursue him.
 
The rebels had told the boys that if they ever left the LRA, the spirits of the people they had killed would pursue them and attack them. But, as long as they stayed in the LRA, they would be protected. When my friend sleeps, the boy they killed sometimes visits him and accuses him of killing him. Even during the day. My friend sometimes hears him crying and begging to his life.
 
That is the end of a sad Testimony about a boy who was trained to kill people in the LRA.
 
Richard (age 14) Former child soldier.“I was abducted by the rebel movement LRA in April 2001. I was rescued by the government groups on January 2005 when  I was short in the foot and could not run. The Rebels from the LRA push the children first into the battles, while they themselves stay in the background. Many children die in the battles. The rebels forced the children who have been kidnapped last to do the killing. Our home have gone into smoke, my parents killed and am suffering alone. Studies will help to find hope and future.”
 
 
Atto (age 14) Former abducts.“I cannot imagine all the horrible situation I have undergone through when I was abducted by the rebels in 2002 and was rescued in September  2005. I was given forcefully for become a wife of one of the commanders and he forced me in to sex and I had a baby painfully. I contracted an STDS, both me and my baby is undergoing treatment. Most of the girls in captivity are below 16 years of age and the rebels force them into sex and they have HIV/AIDS as the results and do not care of the age of a girl. I am really happy to be back home, I only sympathize with the remaining girls in captivity. I do not know what to do with this child since my parents are all dead.”

Denis (age 13) Former child soldier. “I was kidnapped by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel on December 26th 2000 and I managed to escaped on March 2005. While I was a
captive, I was forced to kill, March long distances, carry heavy loads and attack and rob civilians. The rebel officers were really brutal, for example during military training in Sudan. I was in primary three when I was kidnapped. I don’t like staying at home without going to school. Studying would help me find out what is right and wrong. If I am allowed to carry on”.
 
Mary (age 14) Former Abductee. “It was at around 8:00pm when the LRA rebels attacked our home, my parents and brothers were all massacred by using axe when I was witnessing and I cannot believe my eyes, they were accused of not keeping food in the house for them. The rebels took me with them and walked a very long distance and my foot was swollen and couldn’t walk any more, I was beaten and they raped me three of them and was almost dead, then they threw me on the shore of a swamp they were crossing. Unfortunately a good Samaritan found me and took me to the hospital in Gulu where I have fully recovered at the expense of care orphans who are taking care of me. I  am still physchological affected as I witnessed by parents killed but I am receiving counseling from care orphans and will be fine soon”.
 
  
Martin (age 13) Former child soldier.“I was in primary five when I was abducted on April 2005. I was rescued by government soldiers in December 2005 when I was shot in the Knee during a battle. My experiences have made me afraid of war because many people suffer a sudden and painful death. Sometimes we are mistreated by the commanders and can stay for three days without food. My father also died in the war. I am now an orphan and handicapped because of this war”.
 
Children in Uganda face many problems because of Uganda’s political, social and economic situation. First and foremost Uganda is politically unstable, civil wars start from one day to the next. Northern part of Uganda have been deeply affected by rebels and these rebels have introduced conditions that do not value Human life. The  people who are hardest hit by the rebels are children. Children are forced to be the wives of the rebels and are sexually abused.
 
These children are psychological affected, traumatised since they have witnessed a lot of violence and some are handicapped due to bullets at the battle fields and they need close counseling and support.
 
Compiled by
Kikwiyakare J.Moses
Executive Director/founder