A former child soldier who was forced to fight in Sudan’s civil war was able to escape the conflict and ended up in Canada, where he recently became both a citizen and a Juno-nominated musician.

Emmanuel Jal was conscripted into the Sudanese civil war at the age of seven, sparking a four-year period where he was subjected to starvation and other horrors.

“There was a situation when I became a child soldier where I was tempted to eat my own comrade,” he said Wednesday on CTV’s Your Morning.

“Kids are not safe. Some die of starvation. Some die of diseases. Some die of just basic things.”

A British aid worker was able to smuggle Jal out of the country four years later, and he eventually ended up in Canada. He’s since started a music career – his sixth album was nominated for Best World Music Album at this year’s Juno Awards – and became a Canadian citizen last month.

He’s also started working with World Vision to raise awareness of the importance of protecting children around the world.

“Children are suffering all over the world, even here in Canada,” he said.

“You never know the potential of any child or any human being unless that person is given an opportunity.”