Mélida was only 9 when guerrilla fighters lured her away with the promise of food as she played on the floor. For the next seven years she was held hostage by the rebels, forced to become a child soldier.
Her family thought she had died in battle. Then Mélida suddenly returned to her village at 16, carrying a pistol and a grenade. Only her grandfather recognized her — from a birthmark on her cheek.
The very next day, the military surrounded her house, called by an informant seeking the bounty on her head.
“I found out my own father had turned me in,” she recalled.