chapter  10
16 Pages

Girls as “weapons of terror” in Northern Uganda and Sierra Leonean armed groups

BySUSAN MCKAY

Girls – both willingly and unwillingly – participate in terrorist acts within the context of contemporary wars. These acts range from targeting civilians for torture and killing to destroying community infrastructures so that people’s physical and psychological health and survival are affected. Girls witness or participate in acts such as mutilation, human sacrifice, forced cannibalism, drug use, and physical and psychological deprivation. This chapter focuses upon girls in two fighting groups – the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Northern Uganda and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone – and their roles as combatants whose primary strategy is perpetrating terrorist acts against civilians. In analyses of gender and terrorism, girls are typically subsumed under the larger category of “female,” which marginalizes their experiences and fails to recognize that they possess agency and power.