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Uganda Attempts to End Decades’ Long Civil War

The Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army rebels, which have been mired in civil war for more than 21 years, agreed to resume peace talks Thursday. A report explores international attempts to end the conflict.

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  • KIRA KAY, NewsHour Special Correspondent:

    Morning classes at the Laroo school in northern Uganda look like those at many American schools. The children are learning vocabulary, and the eager ones think they know all the answers.

    But walk around the grounds of Laroo, and you notice this school is different. Barbed wire surrounds the campus, which itself is set down a dusty country road, isolated from nearby towns. And students are studying a subject you don't normally see in middle school classrooms: anger management.

  • TEACHER:

    What is anger? What is anger?

  • STUDENT:

    Anger is a strong feeling of displeasure.

  • KIRA KAY:

    The Laroo school is officially called the School for War-Affected Children, and all 700 pupils who live and study here have in some way been brutally touched by a war that has raged around their community for 20 years, a war many Americans have never heard about, a war that has specifically targeted children, turning them into both victims and killers.

    SARAH, Victim of Civil War (through translator): What I can remember is killing, putting people in a hut and burning them to death. I myself killed 30 people.

  • KIRA KAY:

    At the age of eight, Sarah was abducted from her bed at midnight by rebel fighters. She was handed a gun and made to join their fight. She was also raped by her captors and, at age 14, gave birth to a rebel's child.

  • SARAH (through translator):

    The thoughts remain in my mind, and at night I dream of what I have seen. I don't feel like a normal person.

  • KIRA KAY:

    Sarah's classmates listened quietly to her story. And then 16-year-old Paska told us something almost unbearable to hear: She, too, was made to kill in unimaginable ways.

    PASKA, Victim of Civil War (through translator): We used big sticks, and, afterwards, we were forced to eat their blood and their brains. And if we refused, we ourselves were killed.

  • KIRA KAY:

    Child counselor Florence Lacor explained that making children kill each other has been a kind of initiation rite.

  • FLORENCE LACOR, World Vision:

    They have to trample them on feet, or sometimes they have to box them until they're dead. Sometimes they have to bite them with their teeth, and you have to bite so hard that you come out with blood on your teeth. And sometimes they tie them and just hit their head with a stick; they said that would make them strong.