They came for Christine Alaba in the middle of the night. Members of the Lord's Resistance Army pulled her and her husband David from their beds. They made Christine build a fire for cooking. The teenager soon realised with horror that it was her husband they intended to cook.

Christine's story is just one of those told in a new interactive graphic novel compiled by Glasgow photojournalist Marc Ellison and Ugandan artist Christian Mafigiri.

Christine was just one of the 30,000 children, some as young as six, who were kidnapped by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) – led by wanted war criminal Joseph Kony – in northern Uganda in the last two decades and then forced to take up arms. Repeatedly raped, she was in the jungle for seven years before escaping in 2005. But that was not to be the end of her problems.

Ellison has been reporting on the trials of former child soldiers in Uganda since 2011. Fearing that the story has "fallen off the radar", he wanted to find a new way to tell the story of people like Christine.

Inspired by cartoonists like Joe Sacco, the cartoonist who turned his experiences in Palestine and Bosnia during the Balkan Wars into graphic memoirs, and Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre and Frederic Lemercier whose graphic novel The Photographer was based on French photojournalist Lemercier's experiences at the height of the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, he opted for creating an interactive comic strip.

Graphic Memories is a picture strip based on Ellison's research and further interviews conducted by the artist Mafigiri. It is also enhanced with photographs and embedded video inserts of his original interviews with the victims.

"I think this is a very powerful way to tell a journalistic story," Ellison told the Sunday Herald, "because it's a good way to simplify a complex story.

"Illustrations were a way to plug the gaps when the camera wasn't available, but it's also a way to anonymise people's stories. And the photographs are a continual reminder that the story did happen. It's also very appealing to the eye. We're a visual species."

The result, funded via a European Journalism Centre grant, has already been posted by the Toronto Star in Canada and Die Zeit in Germany.

The project is an attempt at helping readers to understand the harrowing experiences the former child soldiers have lived through. And Ellison is concerned that we recognise that these women are still struggling in many ways.

"There's a saying that war is only half the story. I think people assume that just because these women have escaped from the LRA that's the end of their problems. But in many ways it's only the start of it. Some of the women I've interviewed over the last few years have actually said that had they known how challenging life was going to be they would have stayed with the LRA."

The women are often ostracised by communities which themselves suffered attacks from Joseph Kony's men. "People stigmatise them because they are suspected of killing a family member even if it's not true." As a result, some have been attacked and have had their homes and goods destroyed.

Many of the women are also HIV Positive as a result of the abuse they received from LRA soldiers and they struggle to get the anti-retroviral drugs they require. "Many of them live in rural areas and the local health centres can be quite basic and they can't afford the bus fare to go to the next town to get them," Ellison explains

They are also dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder. Christine, for example, is haunted by the fact that she didn't intervene to try to stop the murder of a young child she was looking after by an LRA commander, a story recounted in the strip.

"Counselling is a very Western concept. Many of the people there don't really know what counselling is. There's only a few NGOs that offer it. It's hard for these people to try and fully rehabilitate if they are still quite messed up."

Ellison hopes that by using the graphic novel format in conjunction with the video embeds he is allowing the women to tell their own stories.

"Unfortunately they haven't seen it," Ellison admits. "I would love to go back at some point in the future and show it to them."

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10 of the Best Real-Life Comics and Graphic Novels

Palestine, Joe Sacco

Sacco is the pioneer of graphic novel journalism. Palestine is his angry, powerful account of his experiences in the West Bank and the Gaza strip at the start of the 1990s.

Safe Area Gorazde, Joe Sacco

From Palestine Sacco then journeyed to eastern Bosnia and spent four months with Bosniaks trapped in Gorazde during the Bosnian war. His account of the experience was named Time Magazine’s Best Comic of 2000.

The Photographer, Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre and Frederic Lemercier

The main inspiration for Marc Ellison’s Ugandan project, The Photographer tells the story of Lefevre's time as a French photojournalist who accompanied a Medecins Sans Frontieres mission during the height of the Soviet war in Afghanistan.

Maus, Art Spiegelman

Spiegelman’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of his father’s experiences in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz (as reimagined as a story of mice and cats).

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi

Satrapi’s punky memoir details her life as a rebellious girl in pre and post-revolutionary Iran. Like the best of Sacco’s work, Satrapi’s book showed the humanity behind the repressive politics of that place and time.

March, John Lewis, Nate Powell and Andrew Aydin

Congressman and civil rights campaigner John Lewis is the only person to have spoken at the 1963 civil rights March on Washington who is still alive. In 2013 he published this memoir in graphic form.

Billy, Me & You, Nicola Streeten

Streeten’s heartbreaking account of the death of her two-year-old son shows that the graphic form can deal with the most personal emotions.

Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo and Me, Ellen Forney

Forney’s memoir of coming to terms both medically and emotionally with being bipolar has been commended by the National Association of Psychoanalysis.

Supercrash, Darryl Cunningham

Cunningham’s investigation into the causes of the financial crash in 2008 and suggests it might all be Ayn Rand’s fault.

Ethel and Ernest, Raymond Briggs

Snowman creator Briggs produced a loving account of the lives of his working-class parents between their first meeting in 1928 and their deaths in 1971, taking in the Great Depression, the Second World War and old age.