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Photo Essay by Bruno Stevens

The "Night Commuters"
Uganda's Forgotten Children of War

Since 1986, over 30,000 boys and girls have been abducted in Northern Uganda and forced to become soldiers, laborers and sex slaves. These children are taken by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group that has waged war against the Ugandan government for nearly two decades.

Children abducted by the LRA are forced to carry out raids, beat and kill civilians, and abduct other children. They are forced to beat or trample to death other children who attempt to escape, and are repeatedly told that they will be killed if they try to run away.

To avoid LRA abduction, every night as many as 40,000 children flee their homes in the countryside to sleep in the relative safety of towns. They seek refuge overnight at churches, hospitals, bus stations and temporary shelters before returning home again each morning. They are known as "night commuters."

The following photographs were taken by Bruno Stevens in June 2005.