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Cola's journey : from Sudanese child soldier to Australian refugee

Author: Cola Bilkuei
Publisher: Sydney : Macmillan, 2008.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Cola Bilkuei was born in southern Sudan into a tribal family, living in huts made of reed and cow dung. His was a dirt poor childhood, spent guarding the familys cattle against predators and neighbouring tribes, but a happy one. It wasnt to last long however in 1987, Cola, then aged about 10 years old, was forcibly recruited into Sudan Peoples Liberation Army. For two months, he and hundreds of other young children  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Biography
Named Person: Cola Bilkuei
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Cola Bilkuei
ISBN: 9781405038416 1405038411
OCLC Number: 255966295
Description: 236 pages : map ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Cola Bilkuei.

Abstract:

"Cola Bilkuei was born in southern Sudan into a tribal family, living in huts made of reed and cow dung. His was a dirt poor childhood, spent guarding the familys cattle against predators and neighbouring tribes, but a happy one. It wasnt to last long however in 1987, Cola, then aged about 10 years old, was forcibly recruited into Sudan Peoples Liberation Army. For two months, he and hundreds of other young children from his tribe were marched from southern Sudan to a military training camp inside Ethiopia. Once they arrived at the camp, exhausted and terrified, they were systematically brutalised as SPLA officers turned them into child soldiers. Any dissent or objection could get you beaten to death. Disobedience was punished by firing squad in front of the whole camp. Even sickness was punished. Cola witnessed many executions and beatings over the two years he was there. The children were taught how to handle a rifle, how to fight and how to kill. It was a programme designed to reduce them to mindless obedience and discipline, and to prepare them for the brutal civil war being fought between the SPLA and the Muslim government of Sudan based in the north of the country. Yet Cola refused to be brutalised. He knew there was a better life somewhere and he was determined to find it. After two years, he escaped from the camp and began an extraordinary odyssey across the length of Africa. Without money, a passport or official papers of any kind, he fled Ethiopia back into Sudan, from Sudan he travelled to Uganda, from Uganda to Kenya, from Kenya to Tanzania, from Tanzania to Malawi, from Malawi to Mozambique, from Mozambique to Zimbabwe and from Zimbabwe to South Africa. Finally, after getting accepted into a UN refugee program in South Africa he managed to come to Australia in 2003 as a refugee. His journey from that military camp had taken him fourteen years, living illegally, relying on strangers for help and scraping a living at whatever he could do, as well as educating himself to read and write along the way. This book is an incredible story of an incredible journey. It is a book that shows the very best and the very worst of what humans are capable of. It is also a book suffused with hope, as Cola builds a new life in Australia and works to help other Sudanese refugees on their journeys."--Provided by publisher.

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