The Africa Trust has decided to commence work in Liberia. This is a country which has been ravaged by prolonged civil war but is now peaceful. The country was brought to its knees during the long period of conflict in which many thousands of children were forced to become child soldiers. The chief executive of The Africa Trust spent three days interviewing 90 former child soldiers and he said that it was the most harrowing experience he has endured in over 25 years working in Africa. These young people, now in their 20s have gone through the most terrible experiences imaginable.
All were tortured and abused as child soldiers aged 7-15 years. One was forced to drink battery acid which burnt him terribly and left him unable to speak. Another was wrapped in barbed wire and thrown into a pit full of bodies and biting black ants when he refused to shoot another child. The worst atrocities hardly bear thinking about, but one very sad young man told of how the soldiers forced him to shoot his own parents. They do not want to keep re-living the past but want to have useful employment and the chance to build new lives.