John Nhial was barely a teenager when he was grabbed by a Sudanese guerrilla army and forced to become a child soldier. He was made to endure weeks of walking with so little food and water that some of his fellow captives died. Four more were killed one night in a wild-animal attack.
Then the boys were given military training that involved “running up to 10 kilometres in the heat and hiding” before being given guns and sent to fight “the Arabs”. He spent four years fighting, bombed from the skies and blasting away on guns almost too heavy to hold against an enemy sometimes less than a kilometre away. “I think, ‘If I killed that one it’s a human being like me,’ but you are forced,” he says.
One day the inevitable happened.