Congo Soldiers Essay

1402 words - 6 pages

When most people associate any words with children one word that will constantly keep coming to mind will be innocence. Yes innocence which is defined as lack of guile or corruption is the word that comes to mind for most people that live in a civilized setting. However in at least 12 countries in Africa I doubt that children bring thoughts of innocence since many have been forced to join militias and rebel groups that are predominantly associated with one word, death. Even though there have been at least 12 countries with a documented history of child soldiers this paper will focus on one country in Africa, the Democratic Republic of Congo. The research will describe how and why children ...view middle of the document...

As a result, the number of recruits remains high as fewer of them are killed during battle.
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, child soldiers are forced to commit the most atrocious acts of murder, acts which mentally scar them for life. For example a report from Amnesty International said that as a 15-year old a male soldier named Kalami was forced to kill an entire family. Not only was he forced to kill the entire family but his commanders also made him cut up the bodies and eat them as well. In the report he goes on to say “my life is lost, I have nothing to live for”. This act is just one of the many horrifying examples of the things these children are forced to do by the leaders of these militias. But it’s not only the male children that are forced to do things they have no desire to do, as most female child soldiers are frequently used as sexual slaves by the commanders. Many of these girls will have their first child by 13 and have no idea who the father is because they are sexually assaulted by such numerous amounts of men in the army.
Most child soldier’s lives consist of serving on the frontlines, fighting for control of villages and looting the homes of the civilians. Other children serve as spies, scouts, porters, cooks and bodyguards for officers. But most if not all of the children are given what is called a “morale booster” which is a combination of marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. Since the overwhelming majority of children do not want to actually commit these atrocious acts of murder, rape, mutilation and so on, this “morale booster” puts them in a drugged up mental state that makes them similar to zombies that are very easy for their commanders to control.
Many of the children are abducted into the army when they least expect it, which makes it almost impossible to avoid. Children are usually abducted when they are at school, walking on rural roads, from their homes in the middle of the night, and even in the middle of the day at gunpoint. So since there has been no prominent research done on how children avoid being abducted into these armies the closest thing to that info are the stories about soldiers that escape from these armies. The only chance for most of these children to escape is at night when they must make their way through an entire makeshift army base without being detected. Many will be caught by fellow members of the army and tortured or killed during this process. Still some make it out but that usually leads to another treacherous task which is to navigate through hours upon hours of jungle as most of these militias are based deep in the Jungles of the Congo. Just because a child does happen to make it through all these impediments that doesn’t necessarily mean that they can just go back home and start their lives again where they left off.
If the children that do successfully make their escapes from these armies find their way home, many are unable to return to their families....

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