Sept 24/10 - Pt 3: Sudan Child Soldiers

A documentary about former child soldiers in Sudan and why some are feeling the pull to go back to the army that once abducted them.


Sudan Child Soliders - Zack Baddorf

For 20 years -- long before the fighting in Darfur had even begun -- southern Sudan was the site of Africa's longest-running civil war. The mostly Arab and Muslim government in the north ... faced off against the mainly Christian African rebels in the south.

The war killed two million people. And it was fought in part by thousands of children. Both sides used child soldiers. And even now, five years after the end of the war, children are still part of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army. The SPLA has signed an agreement to get all the children out of its ranks by December. And William Deng, the head of Southern Sudan's demobilization commission, says that deadline will be met.

But as the deadline approaches, the goal of demobilizing those children has hit some unexpected bumps in the road. Zack Baddorf has prepared a documentary about some of the former child soldiers He's a Canadian freelance journalist in Vancouver.

We aired his documentary and we should mention that we have changed names and withheld exact locations in this story, to protect the children's identities.

Sudan Child Soldiers - Lieutenant General Kuol Deim Kuol

The Sudan People's Liberation Army disputes the numbers we heard in that documentary. It says there are only 200 children in its ranks now and that none of them are involved in fighting. In fact, the SPLA says most of them are children who returned to the army after being demobilized.

Lieutenant General Kuol Deim Kuol is the SPLA's spokesperson and Director of Moral Orientation. He's in charge of educating the troops about the morals and rules of war. We asked Lieutenant General Kuol why the SPLA couldn't just refuse to accept children who returned to the barracks and whether the SPLA would be able to meet the December deadline for demobilizing all the children in its ranks.

Lieutenant General Kuol Deim Kuol is the spokesperson and the Director of Moral Orientation for the Sudan People's Liberation Army.

Sudan Child Soldiers - Radhika Coomaraswamy

Over the years, the SPLA has been named on a list of persistent violators of children's rights. That list is prepared by Radhika Coomaraswamy. She is an Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and the UN's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. She was in New York City.

Last Word - Afghan Pop Star

We ended the program today with a preview of something The Current's Jennifer Moroz is working on for Monday's program. Born in Afghanistan and raised in vancouver, Mozhdah Jamalzadah returned to Afghanistan as one of the country's only female pop stars. She is pushing the empowerment of women there as part of moving her homeland forward. We gave producer, Jennifer Moroz the last word with her explanation of the story.

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