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  Life for African kids
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Conflict
Millions of African children grow up surrounded by wars and fighting.

In Angola, there was fighting for 27 years running, but it's hoped that's ending now after a peace agreement was signed in 2002.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, at least 2.5 million people have died in fighting.

Children are affected in many ways.


1) Child soldiers
They are sometimes forced to become child soldiers and fight - even when they don't understand what the war's about.

In Liberia, children as young as seven have been found fighting in combat.

  • Sometimes children are taken from their families and forced to fight.

  • Or they may be forced to fight to protect their families.

2) Destroys families
Children often get separated from their family because of war - or lose their parents altogether.

Many children are sent away from home if the fighting is really bad.

And their fathers and brothers go off to war, and may never return.

In Rwanda, 300,000 children have no mum or dad and have to run their own family, because their parents were killed in a civil war in 1993.

A landmine sign in Angola
3) Landmines
Landmines - left over from old conflicts - also threaten children.

No one knows where they are and children are often killed or lose limbs when they step on them.

4) Fear of fighting
The fact that war is so common also means that many children live with a permanent fear of fighting.

Even if they don't get caught up in it themselves, they may have permanent nightmares or worry they'll wake up one day to find their dad and brothers gone.

Other facts about conflict

  • More than 11,300 kids, about a third of them girls, have been forced to fight in Uganda
  • Seven out of every 10 kids in parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo die before their second birthday
  • More than 70,000 people in Angola have lost arms or legs

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