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Sunday, September 12, 1999 Published at 11:47 GMT 12:47 UK

UK: Scotland

From killing fields to the field of dreams

Children and teenagers were forced to fight in the civil war

Former child soldiers from Liberia have travelled to Scotland to take part in a football tournament

The Millennium Stars have been invited to take part in an international youth festival at Coatbridge.

It was hoped the African team's appearance would boost the UK Government's international campaign against the use of youngsters in the armed forces.

There was outrage in the international community when it emerged that children had been pressed into action by both the Liberian Government and rebel forces during the country's civil war.

Put differences aside

However, when the war ended in 1997 the teenagers put their differences aside to form a football team.

At first they trained barefoot and without a football until they were given one by a local missionary, Father Joe Glackin from Scotland.

The team were invited to attend the festival in Scotland by the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund and the Catholic Secretariat for Young People.

The day-long event was due to be kicked off by MP George Foulkes and the Liberian Ambassador William Bull at Xaverian College in Coatbridge.

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