WARNING: The following account is descriptive and unsettling.

Jeffrey’s personal tally after four years of imposed service as a child soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army includes six villagers hacked or beaten to death, "hundreds" of people maimed, and "many, many" Ugandan soldiers killed.

He only admits to taking two ‘wives,’ but there were probably many more village girls that were violated over the years.

Young girls were also brought back to Joseph Kony so he could pick from among them and viciously rape "two or three at a time." Jeffrey explained that, often, the older girls would escape into the bush when they attacked a village. Only the youngest remained to be immediately molested, forced upon by the fighters, or taken into captivity to continually meet the ongoing sexual demands of the troops. The most innocent, the ‘little ones,’ became those who suffered the worst abuse and defilement, perhaps while in a state of shock from seeing their parents or friends fall under the unforgiving blows of a machete.

Childrapeposter

(EVIL AGGRESSION. A poster in a third grade classroom at one of our Ugandan children’s homes warns against child abduction and rape)

Many of the soldiers didn’t want to keep these young girls in bondage. Jeffrey shared that on a couple of occasions he took a girl with him to fetch water and, upon arriving at the water source, told her to run and never look back. Allowing a slave to escape meant that he would have to spend a month in solitary confinement under harsh conditions. It was a worthy sacrifice to him. He imagined his own sister having to be subject to such relentlessly cruel treatment. He hoped that, if she were in similar circumstances, somebody would do the same for her.

To be continued…