>> Turning brutalized child soldiers back into ordinary children is no easy task. This Congolese center, funded by UNICEF provides food, basic education, and psychological and medical care. Then tries to reunite them with their parents. Reuters didn't film their faces to protect their identities. 13 year old Colombo Kaluchi was abducted by the Kamwin and the Nsapu militia in the Kasai central province.
Like many of the other children he was forced to undergo a gruesome initiation ceremony.>>
> Some times we are faced with a situation in which a child during the conflict was amongst those who set fire to the bodies. Or even to the village, or even eliminated someone who is known there.
The dipped a red bandanna in the blood and tied it to my head. And then made me drink the human blood, and swallow red ants.>> The militia that recruited these children was fighting to avenge the death of its leader, Kamwina Nsapu. Who was killed by Congolese armed forces in August 2015.
The UN says as many as 5,000 people died in the battles in the Kasai central province last year, and over 1 million were uprooted. Charms and totem we use to convince the children they were invincible, and immune to bullets, and many still believe it. Some are forced to attack their own villages, and have been ostracized by their families.
Making it even harder to return them to a normal life.>>
>> Campaigners say children were used to fight in at least 18 conflicts last year, despite a global ban on sending children to war.