A couple of years ago I read an article about The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group in Uganda who claim to have been formed to fight the Ugandan government, but in reality have been accused of killing hundreds of people in the most gruesome manner possible. People have been slaughtered, hacked to death. Churches have been burned. In addition, the group abducts children and forces boys to fight as child soldiers and the girls often are treated as sex slaves.
Some claim that these charges have been exaggerated, but even if this is true, the accounts of mutilations, massacres and abductions are too numerous to ignore.
When I first learned about the activities of the Lord’s Resistance Army I wanted to do something to help not just these poor children who have suffered so much, but all children around the world who are forced to fight as child soldiers. I didn’t have much money to donate, and I didn’t know of any organizations where I could volunteer my time. Then I realized, I was a writer – I could write a novel to help people understand what these child soldiers had endured. Virgin Soldier is the novel I wrote.
Now there is hope that the LRA’s days may be numbered. Recently the White House announced 100 US Special Forces troops are being sent to Central Africa to combat the LRA. Many people around the world have said for years “someone” ought to do “something” to stop the LRA. Hopefully, this action, will end the LRA’s reign of terror and save future children from being terrorized and exploited. The tragedy of the situation is that to protect future children, we will have to fight the current victims of the LRA.
Web articles on child soldiers:
UN Report on the LRA (from 2006)
Washington Post Photo Gallery of LRA (contains some disturbing images)