Our writings section features stories addressing the issue of ChildSoldiers written by youth in Sierra Leone
An Appeal for Help
by Jane Peters, a student of the Saint Joseph's Secondary School Freetown, Sierra Leone
My name is Jane Peters and I am a 14 year student of the Saint Joseph's Convent Secondary School In Freetown and I am in form IV. I am doing accounting because I would like to be an Accountant in the future. Of course I am a member of I*EARN in Sierra Leone headed by Andrew Greene. I have got an experience about Child Soldiers that I want to share with you.
In Sierra Leone when the rebels attack towns and villages, they capture children some at the age of seven, six and below. train them up by giving them arms aand other cocaine, drugs so they will behave like animals and later on they would be asked to go and attack other areas in the country. I tell you, children at this ages when given cocain and arms are very very dangerous, more than their elders because they don't think twice. They are even very fast in killing people, burning houses and destroying properties. Most times, they are given the most dangerous names by their elder or colleaugue like 'The Killer, 'Captain Cut-Hand', Major cut-throat, Lieutenant (Leftenant 'Burn Hose' (meaning Burn House) 'Ambush Commander',and many other such dangerous names. Of course these fearful names are given because of these children role in the war. This make the child soldier feel proud and believe they have power. They don't know any longer who is older then them.
These children suffer a lot because they are always sent in front when ever an attack take place, and there many of them who loose their lives by the other opponent. Their elders stay behind, many ocassion. Some of them while in the bush become malnurish, sick and so many others die easily because of lack of good food and shelter especially during the rains. Many come to face dangerous animals like snakes that bite them to death. The parents of these children are always crying because they have lost some of their children and their good features have been destroyed. Infact so many ex-child soldiers today are four times older in look than they should actually be. When the girls in particular are captured and conscript they are first cruelly rape before drugged. Some are seized by adult male rebels to serve as wives. I narrowly escaped the rebels in 1997 and 1999 when they shot their way through the city.
As a child who have live through war for 10 years, I know how my parents could have felt if I was abduct or taken to bush. I sympathize with the parents of these children beacuse of this and I am always against the use of children in armed conflicts. By doing this the future of this good children will be spoiled.
So we are please appealing to the United Nations ECOWAS and all other organizations with the help of God to please help to stop those who use we the children as soldiers in armed conflicts and also help the children to find their parents because some are very eager to know about their parents as well as their parents are eager to know about them.