Accidents can be healed
Hundreds of child soldiers have been demobilised in the past years in Pibor, South Sudan. But the effects remain.
Richard (fictional name) killed several soldiers when he was just 13 years old and was part of an armed group in Pibor, South Sudan. After he killed them, along with some other mates, stripped the dead bodies and ran away. Richard says that it was an accident. “I defended my life,” he remembers. “It was just me or them, and I had to make a quick decision.” He insists that he is not a killer, because they attacked him and he had to survive. “It was an accident,” he repeats.
Charles (another fictional name) had to do the same when he was just 14. “We were in the bush and some soldiers attacked our positions,” Charles recalls, “and I had to shoot the gun to save my life.” Right after he came back home and gave up his weapon, his family hired a traditional healer who burned some leaves and made him inhale its smoke. “After this, I am clean.” He believes his crime has just vanished with that smoke.
Many former child soldiers show aggressive behaviours and have many difficulties to resume their civilian life. Most of them don’t want to go back to the front-line but they certainly have great challenges to forget the hell they went through.