During times of conflict many children, especially teenagers are forced to join armed groups. They are usually recruited to help out the armed groups carry out their activities. Some children are even forced to fight for them, which means they have to kill their own people. For most teenagers, there is usually no escape. They have to survive the brutal conditions of the rebel group camps or die.
Mary was forcefully recruited by rebel groups in South Sudan when she was 12 years old. She was forced to work with them for three years until she finally escaped. The terrors of her time living with the rebel groups still haunt her. She remembers being beaten and told to crawl on her hands and feet until her skin would get scraped off.
Many other children like Mary face brutal punishments, and hardships in the rebel camps every day. However, some of them join these groups voluntarily. Esther says that she joined the rebel group voluntarily when she was 14 years old because she was out of school and had nothing else to do.
These untold stories of young children in South Sudan are not only horrifying but show the way these teenagers are deeply affected by armed conflicts.