For two decades, a brutal civil war has racked the East African nation. There, the government has been fighting a rebel group called the lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. A former child soldier – kidnapped and compelled to fight for the LRA – recently brought his story to the campus of North Central College.
“While with the LRA in captivity, I saw so many horrible things,” said former child soldier, Jimmy Ocaya. When he was just 10 years old, soldiers burst into his home, tied him to another child, and killed his parents in front of him. Jimmy became an involuntary soldier and witness to the LRA’s bloody rampage.
“I witnessed people dying right in front of me,” said Ocaya. “I lost so many of my relatives in the war.”
Since 1986, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been led by Joseph Kony who believes he is god, and has failed to overthrow the Ugandan government. His now seemingly aimless killing spree involves Ugandan children, who he orphans and forces into his battle.
“Joseph Kony is a witchdoctor of which he’s only fighting for people’s blood,” said Ocaya.
But the international organization, “Invisible Children” is determined to bring the plight of these child soldiers to the world’s attention and to bring peace to Uganda. The group’s “Face To Face” tour allows former child soldiers like Jimmy Ocaya to tell their stories around America and inspire change.
“If we can come together and change this person’s life, change Jimmy’s life, maybe we can change others and build off that, start focusing on the people and change the world we live in,” said North Central Senior, Ryan Piers who helped bring the program to the college.
Jimmy and other former child soldiers will bring their stories and the face-to-face tour to more than 200 cities around the country.
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