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The Ex Child Soldiers of Leer, South Sudan

Tom Martin | South Sudan

The county of Leer in Unity state is one of the hardest to reach in South Sudan; travel by land is virtually impossible due to lack of infrastructure and rebel controlled areas.

Endemic conflict in South Sudan has created generations of child soldiers, many of whom are stolen from their family or displaced during the chaos of war. As these children grow older they often have no family to support them, no means to access education and no way to make a living. It is no surprise that many of these ex child combatants are forced to return to the only lives they know, lives supported by violence.

This cyclical relationship between the exploitation of youth and the continuation of violence is hard to interrupt, but only by breaking this pattern can long-term peace be achieved.

These images were taken in the county of Leer in Unity State South Sudan. The NGO Vétérinaires Sans Frontieres Suisse, supported by UNICEF are implementing a Reintegration of Former Child Soldiers Project (RECAAF) as part of the project ex child soldiers are given livestock; this livestock enables them to make a living without falling back into the hands of rebel forces or lawless groups.    

Vétérinaires Sans Frontieres Suisse, UNICEF,  


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