Welcoming America With Loaded Arms

The teenage soldiers at the checkpoint call their outpost 25 miles outside Monrovia the God Bless You Gate--because, says Sergeant Kofa Mailer, 17, "when you pass by this gate, God bless you." The gate is made from a long reed and festooned with human bones. A femur hangs beside a pelvis and near a piece of a vertebra. The guards at the God Bless You Gate are members of a Small Boys Unit, government-employed child soldiers. They say they are generals, lieutenants and sergeants, but even with their AK-47s, they look more like schoolchildren. Their leader, General James Curry, says he...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!