This article discusses the issue of child soldiers by weaving together the threads of experiences of violence, terror and survival narrated by children directly involved in armed conflicts.
Despite the fact that the majority of them have been forced to enter the military, they are not just empty vessels into whom violence is poured. Having started as victims, many are converted into perpetrators of the most violent and atrocious deeds.
The article suggests that former child soldiers exercise a ‘tactical agency’ to deal with the immediate circumstances of their situation. The interstitial position of child soldiers, as both victims and perpetrators of violence, places them in a unique position vis?à?vis their communities and society in general.
The article examines the role of local community strategies for healing, rehabilitation and social reintegration of former child soldiers. But beyond social healing in the immediate aftermath of war, these children and their families need to be given access to education, training and employment to rebuild their lives.