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Witness Reluctant to Talk

A former child soldier told prosecutors on Thursday that he was beaten when he arrived at a military training camp allegedly run by Thomas Lubanga and other commanders in the Union of Congolese Patriots (UPC).

“Can you describe how you were beaten?” asked prosecutor Nicole Samson.

“No, I can’t,” the unnamed witness replied. “I might have problems and get angry [if I talk about it].”

He also declined to describe what happened when he attempted to flee the camp, where recruits received extensive weapon training.

“In the case of certain events, it’s better not to talk about it,” he said. “It awakens certain feelings.”

The witness, who testified in Swahili with his voice and face distorted, said he was kidnapped by UPC soldiers on his way home from primary school, but could not remember the date.

He said he was forced to accompany soldiers to a training camp in Mandro, a town in the Ituri region, where he spent about four months before being deployed to the field.

Lubanga appeared sullen and sat with his arms folded across his chest as the witness spoke.

The court adjourned in early afternoon and the witness is expected to resume his testimony Friday morning.