Boy Soldier

Boy Soldier


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Uganda's civil war with Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army has raged since the early 1990s, claiming over 100,000 lives and displacing around 1.5 million people. The LRA are a rebel force who combine religious mysticism with extreme brutality, infamous for abducting tens of thousands of children for use as soldiers and forcing them to commit unspeakable violence. Their insurgency continues to this day, though most of us know little about it. Boy Soldier tells the story of one of the children who fell victim to this forgotten war.

After an idyllic childhood, Norman Okello was abducted by the LRA at the age of twelve. In captivity, he was subjected to a ruthless training regime aimed at turning him into a killing machine free from conscience and fear. Norman’s struggled constantly to stay alive while maintaining his humanity, and he eventually managed to escape his ordeal. But having fled the clutches of the LRA, he was faced with the task of trying to reintegrate into a society that feared and despised him.

Harrowing, inspiring and enlightening in equal measure, Boy Soldier is above all a story of survival and redemption against unbelievable odds.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783528110
Publisher: Unbound
Publication date: 02/16/2021
Pages: 528
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Norman Okello is a former child soldier from northern Uganda, abducted at the age of twelve by one of the most notoriously violent rebel forces in the world. Norman was forced to make brave and difficult choices that not only kept him alive, but also made him a role model to mankind on the ability to overcome hardship, overcome hatred, and live a fulfilling life centered on helping others and serving his community.

Dr Theo Hollander is a peacebuilding professional with over ten years of experience working with child soldiers, reintegration of combatants, transitional justice, and security. From 2011 to 2014, Theo was the research coordinator of a war documentation center based in Kitgum, northern Uganda where he documented hundreds of life stories of people affected by armed conflict. He currently lives and works in Myanmar as the Justice and Security adviser for the UK peacebuilding organization Saferworld.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Part I A First Encounter

A Bitter Start 3

The End of Happiness 17

Writing My Name 33

Part II Becoming a Soldier

Death March 51

Palutaka 60

My Life as a Soldier 74

Part III Losing My Humanity

The Person I Feared Becoming 99

The Attack on Palutaka 124

The Deserts of Sudan 142

Part IV The Birth of a Monster

Exorcism of the Civilian Mind 167

The Birth of a Monster 179

Invoking the Spirit of Vengeance 195

The Girls of Aboke 206

The Kitgum Massacres 235

Part V The Life After

Escape 261

A Prisoner Again 274

Still Trapped in the War 309

The Return of Happiness 334

On the Fates of the People in this Book 369

Uganda: A History of Cyclical Violence 383

War in Northern Uganda and the Genesis of the Lord's Resistance Army 395

On Peace and Unending War 413

Acknowledgements 423

A Note on the Authors 427

Supporters 429

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