Kids with Guns

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Duration: 1 hour

Stacey Dooley returns with a moving and insightful documentary exploring the issue of child soldiers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where an estimated 5.4 million people have died in the civil war.

An estimated 30,000 children have been used as soldiers during the 14-year conflict in the DRC and no one knows how many thousands are still in the forests, enslaved by armed militias. Stacey meets kids who have been soldiers. She goes to a rescue centre where boys and girls arrive daily, rescued from guerrilla militia units as well as the Congolese National Army. She befriends one boy, 16-year-old Patrick, who was kidnapped when he was just 12. He tells her how he was forced to kill people and was even made to drink their blood to give him magic powers.

Stacey meets other boy soldiers and hears their terrifying experiences first hand. Accompanying a local charity, she travels to a frontline Congolese National Army camp where she helps rescues two teenage boy soldiers. On their way to the rescue centre, they reveal to her that they've been living as soldiers, deep in the forest, since they were nine and ten years old.

Stacey takes one boy home to be reunited with his family he hasn't seen for more than three years. He was taken away by the militias, forced to fight and kill and now neither Stacey nor the boy know how his family and the villagers will react to his return.

Stacey witnesses for herself the terrifying complexities of war where young kids have been manipulated to commit atrocities, but who still have to return to living a normal life again.

  • Photo: Stacey Dooley and Akili

    Photo: Stacey Dooley and Akili

    Akili was a child soldier who was rescued from the Congolese National Army during filming.

  • Photo: Stacey with ex soldiers

    Photo: Stacey with ex soldiers

    Stacey helps in an art class at the centre for ex child soldiers, many of whom have been rescued from guerrilla militia units.

  • Stacey's blog

    Stacey's blog

    Read about Stacey's first-hand experiences in the Democratic Republic of Congo, including: meeting mothers who have had their children kidnapped, finding out what child soldiers were forced to do, and seeing how they are rehabilitated.

    Read Stacey's blog

Credits

Presenter
Stacey Dooley
Executive Producer
Mark Rubens
Executive Producer
Tim Quicke
Producer
Fiona Lloyd-Davies
Director
Fiona Lloyd-Davies

Broadcasts

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