Lumley Beach, Freetown, Sierra Leone. Saturday, September 16, 2017
This photograph was chosen by Innocence Lost Foundation to illustrate their 2018 calendar. Innocence Lost Foundation is a team of volunteers dedicated to building rehabilitation centers for child soldiers and youth in Africa.
Visit the Foundation's webpage at http://innocencelostfoundation.com and @innocencelostfoundation
- Many thanks to Laura May @lauramaypix
for the opportunity!
During Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war (1991-2002), some youth joined the conflict voluntarily, many more were kidnapped (boys and girls below 15, at times as young as 7) by rebel forces or drawn into the government army to serve multiple roles: military tasks including combat, laying explosives, human shields; messengers and spies; porters, cooks and caretakers for their sick or wounded commanders; and sex slaves.
This is how a Sierra Leonean child recounted his abduction and enrolment by the the Revolutionary United Front; he was only 10 years-old at the time: “[t]he rebel camp was not far from my home. The commander brought 10 people from my village, men, women and children. He assembled everyone and told the prisoners they were going to die. They called to me by name, crying, 'M., talk for us.' I knew them all. The children were my friends. I pleaded with the commander. He told me: 'Kill them. If you don't, I will kill you.' He put his gun to my head. My body began to shake. I fired, and kept firing. I watched them fall. Their limbs were twitching. It took them a long time to die -- about three minutes. Then I vomited. It was the first time I killed.'' “Sierra Leone is no place to be young” by Jan Goodwin, New York Times.
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