Robin Hammond

Monrovia, LIBERIA

Former child soldier Moses Kollie, 29, holding a piece of wood, as if it were a gun, in Trench Town, an informal settlement in Monrovia inhabited mostly by ex-combatants of Liberia's civil wars.

He says: 'I was a little boy in the war and I find myself doing lot of things that am not supposed to do, I'm still the same way. I'm not achieve anything. So I want to achieve'.

Thousands of Liberia's children were conscripted to fight in the country's bloody civil wars between 1989 and 2003. The guns they held gave them power and status. They took what they wanted from a population that feared them. When the fighting was over many of these former combatants experienced significant stigma when they returned to their communities. In turn, the now destitute adult ex-fighters formed ghettos where they continue to call each other by their war names and respect ranks held during the fighting. Among these former child soldiers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), with its constituent symptoms of aggression, depression, sleeplessness and flashbacks, is rife but rarely treated.

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Robin Hammond
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