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Child Soldiers in Uganda, Application Essay Example

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Application Essay

Introduction

History of child soldiers in Uganda is traced back to the national Resistance Army in which children were conscripted to fight with the soldiers. Children below 18 years old were recruited and made to join the armed forces and used as child soldiers in combat operation, for sexual purposes, to set or clear land mines or simply work as spies, porters and messengers. The break down of social structures in Uganda meant the children were forcefully abducted, separated from the parents. The national resistance army was formed in 1981 by Yoweri Museveni and Yusuf lule to wage war against the Government of Milton Obote and mainly used Guerilla tactics. On the other hand, the Lord Resistance army which was started by Alice Lakwena now led by the self style spiritual leader Joseph kony. The group has been in operation in northern Uganda, southern Sudan and recently shifted base to Congo (Haynes, 2002).

How NRA recruited child soldiers

The national resistance Army defeated   the Uganda government troops in 1986 with a troop consisting of close to 16,000 Banyarwanda, majority of who were children. The LRA later targeted the Acholi people in the Northern Uganda in what was seen as revenge mission for the operation Bonanza ordered by Milton Obote. In 1983, the war in Luwero triangle, north of Kampala left more than 200 people dead, displacing more than 300,000 (McLaughlin, 2004). Since NRA could not turn its back on the plight of its people, a decision was made to adopt he children and give them self defense training. The children soon accompanied the officers in combat operations and were very loyal since they were driven by revenge against the government forces (Doom & Vlassenroot, 1999). The children soldiers were found to be very reliable and dedicated to the mission of NRA and were an asset in running errands, cleaning and cooking for the soldiers.

How LRA recruited its child soldiers

The lord resistance army which is currently believed to be operating in parts of democratic republic of Congo and central republic started its operation in the Northern Uganda among the Acholi people. In the 1990s, the movement was strengthening by the government of Sudan which was acting in retaliation against Uganda fro supporting its rebels in the southern Sudan region. As result of the fighting with the NRA army, the re was mass atrocities among the Acholi people. For instance, a lot of killing and mass abduction of hundred of villagers was done by the LRA. While villagers were forcefully recruited in Atiak village, about, 139 school girls were kidnapped in Aboke and made girlfriends and wives of the soldiers (Martin, 2006).

Why armies use child soldiers and its impacts on them

According to researchers, one of the reasons for armies preferring to use the child soldiers is because they use less food than their adult counterparts (Muth, 2008). Children are loyal since they are not independent decision makers and their vulnerability makes them easier to train. When combat drug for along period, the children soldiers are used to maintain the high number of soldiers (Ruddy & Koen, 1999).

The psychological effects on the children exposed to conflict are very injurious. It is difficult for them to live in a society peacefully since they have been used to living in the juggle and killing each other. Most of the child soldiers are eventually attracted to a life of crime and violence in the society. While the men become addicted to the drugs like cannabis they were forced to take in the juggle, the girl child are left with permanent scars since they are used sexually by many soldiers.

References

Doom, R. & Vlassenroot, K., (1999). “The Lord’s Resistance Army in Northern Uganda”. Afraf.oxfordjournals.org.

Haynes, J., (2002). Politics in the developing world. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 121.

Martin, G., (2006). Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues. SAGE. pp. 196–197.

McLaughlin, A., (2004). “The End of Uganda’s Mystic Rebel?”. Christian Science Monitor. Global Policy Forum.

Muth, R., (2008). “Child Soldiers in the Lord’s Resistance Army: Factors in the Rehabilitation and Reintegration Process”. George Mason University:

Ruddy, D. & Koen, V., (1999). Kony’s message: A new Koine? The Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda 98 (390). Oxford Journals / Royal African Society. pp. 5–36.

 

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