Emmanuel Jal

Emmanuel Jal (born Jal Jok c. 1980) is a South Sudanese musician and former child soldier. Born in the village of Tonj in Southern 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 about 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 who had been told that they could be educated there. 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. "I didn't have a life as a child. In five years as a fighting boy, what was in my heart was to kill as many Muslims as possible." 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.

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