Wednesday, 9 July 2014
Emmanuel Jal - from South Sudan
'Born in a Nuer family in the village of Tonj, Warrap State in the Bahr el Ghazal region of Sudan (now South Sudan), Jal was a young child when the Second Sudanese Civil War broke out. His father joined the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and when he was roughly seven years old, his mother was killed by soldiers loyal to the government. He then decided to join the thousands of children traveling to Ethiopia seeking education and opportunity.
Along the way however, Many of the children, Jal included, were recruited by the SPLA and taken to military training camps in the bush in Etwas disguised as a school in front of international aid agencies and UN representatives, but behind closed doors the children were training to fight.
Jal spent several years fighting with the SPLA in Ethiopia, until war broke in and out, there too and the child soldiers were forced back into Sudan by the fighting and joined the SPLA's efforts to fight the government in the town of Juba. "Many kids there were so bitter, they wanted to know what happened to them. And we all wanted revenge."
When the fighting became unbearable Jal and some other children decided to run away. They were on the move for three months, with many dying on the way, until they reached the town of Waat, which was the headquarters of a small group that had separated themselves from the main SPLA.
In Waat, Jal met Emma McCune, a British aid worker married to senior SPLA commandant Riek Machar. Emmanuel was only 11 years old then and McCune insisted he should not be a soldier. She adopted him and smuggled him to Kenya. There Emmanuel attended school in Nairobi. McCune died in a road accident a few months later, but her friends (Madeliene Bunting and Anna Ledgard) helped Emmanuel to continue his studies. However, after McCune died, her husband Machar did not agree with Emmanuel staying with him, and he was forced to live in the slums( maybe before he came to Kileleshwa).He stayed in Kileleshwa with other Refugees while attending Aboretum Sixth Form College' [more]
I'm looking forward to reading his book
The story of Emma Mcune is quite something. I look forward to learning more about her