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  What is happening to child soldiers in Uganda?
Updated 20 April 2004, 18.27
These children don't have to fight anymore and are now being helped
In a country called Uganda in Africa thousands of children are being kidnapped and forced to become soldiers.

Here we explain why and what's being done to help.

Who is taking children in Uganda?
The Lords Resistance Army or LRA is the rebel army that is kidnapping children.

They are against the Ugandan government and have been fighting it for about 18 years.

The LRA claim they are representing a group of people living in the north of Uganda who want to live by strict Christian rules.

Why are children being forced to fight?
There are many children thought to be fighting with the LRA.

They are often kidnapped from their home villages and forced to fight, some are even made to kill their friends or family.

Some are fortunate enough to be released after a few years and some manage to escape.

What happens to the children who are released?
After fighting for the LRA some children are helped at special centres like the Rachele centre.

People at the centre try and help the children come to terms with having been forced to fight.

Sometimes their parents come and visit them on Sundays.

Therapy includes taking part in pretend battles where one side is the LRA, the other the Ugandan army. At the end, the charity Amnesty International comes in and makes peace.

Children can spend up to two months in these centres, based around the country.

Is there anywhere that children are safe at night?
Some hospitals and church halls are opening their doors at night for children to stay there.

What is the rest of the world doing to help?
Other countries around the world are aware of what's happening but so far not much has been done to help.

Last year, the UN said the situation in northern Uganda was worse than anywhere else in the world.

But the government says it's sure their army can defeat the rebels.

More InfoBORDER=0
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Past StoriesBORDER=0
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