November 24th, 2008
05:01 PM ET

War is stealing Congo's young

A girl fills a jug with water at the camp for internally displaced people in Kibati, Congo, on Thursday.

A girl fills a jug with water at the camp for internally displaced people in Kibati, Congo, on Thursday.

Lindsay Branham
Special to CNN

The border was hauntingly empty. No military, drenched in green, patrolling. No AKs slung over shoulders. No Swahili floating through the air.

Just the pitter-patter of rain falling to the ground and turning the dirt road into a river.

To the right some secondary school students huddled beneath an overhang.

From a village close to Rutshuru in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they had fled an attack by the rebel group, the CNDP, led by a renegade general, Laurent Nkunda. Jean said they were at school when the rebels came. The men with guns marched the boys outside and ordered them to file into a line.

"We were so scared," said Jean, "we ran into the bush." Adamant that they did not want to fight, that they did not want to become soldiers, Jean explained how they had to hide themselves in the forest to escape being abducted. Many of their friends, though, were taken.


Filed under: Lindsay Branham
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Cherisa

    Our hard times are nothing compared to the atrocities these individuals face. We said "never again", yet we continue to fail in our response to these crises. Too many are content to turn a blind eye whenever these stories do finally make it into the US media.

    As we give thanks for our blessings this week, remember those in this region affected by war, and all those there to provide aid. Make a donation, raise awareness, find a way to get involved. Whatever has befallen us in these tough times, we still have the power to try and make a difference in the lives of others.

    November 24, 2008 at 8:19 pm |
  2. Brenda Harris

    These kinds of things are so hard to watch. And then you turn to another site or channel and you see people with so much and also wasting. God help us.......

    November 24, 2008 at 6:36 pm |
  3. Maria

    Dear Ms Branham,
    Nearly 3 decades ago, I saw an African child struggling to survive on TV, I asked my mom, what is wrong with this child; she replied me (he is unfortunate, he don’t have food to eat). Three decades later, children in part of Africa still suffering, they lost their childhood and enforced in bloody action, something I doubt they really comprehend. It is sad to keep watching abandoned childhood and it is fail of humanity if we leave them behind. United Nation tried to encounter the disaster, but their efforts are diluted through a large nation. I thank all heroes whom in mission to help the unfortunate and I acknowledge Andre Heller, logistic coordinator of Doctors without borders, who described the health crisis in Eastern Part of Congo. I wish to thank you Lindsay for sharing you experience.

    November 24, 2008 at 6:04 pm |

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