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Guides: Africa

Last Updated: Thursday June 30 2005 14:32 GMT


African children talk to a soldier
Millions of African children grow up surrounded by wars and fighting.

In Angola, there was fighting for 27 years, but a peace agreement was finally signed in 2002.

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

Children are affected by these conflicts in many ways.

1) Child soldiers

Kids are sometimes forced to become soldiers and fight - even when they don't understand what the war's about.

In Liberia, children as young as seven have been involved 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) Family problems

Children often get separated from their family because of war - or even lose their parents.

Many children are sent away from home if the fighting is really bad. Their fathers and brothers might go off to war, and may never return.

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

3) Landmines

There are lots of landmines left over from old conflicts. No-one knows where they are and people 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.

Other facts about conflict

More than 11,300 kids, about a third of them girls, have been forced to fight in Uganda.

More than one in seven children die before their first birthday in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

More than 70,000 people in Angola have lost arms or legs.

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