The battle cry of the rebels in Sierra Leone during the advance on Freetown in January 1999 had a terrifying simplicity about it: “No Living Thing.” A human being was not worth living, or did not ask for more remorse, than a chicken, a dog, a goat, perhaps because each soldier was previously turned into a beast, emptied of any values considered vaguely human. Or the combatants were even prevented for learning those values. It is the obvious case of the swarm of children caught in the war machine, of fighters methodically alienated by drugs, abuse or indoctrination.

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