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A telecollaborative Project Between iEARN-Canada & iEARN-Sierra Leone


Our writings section features stories addressing the issue of ChildSoldiers written by youth in Sierra Leone

The Consequence!

by James Pessima, age 19, Boys High School, Freetown, Sierra Leone

My name is James Pessima a Boys High School leaver and I am 19. On the 6th of January a terrible thing happened to me which has affected my life till date. I was dwelling at a place called Calaba Town when rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), mostly child soldiers attacked the place we lived. It was during a very unholy hour of the morning 2 am. They were so many as if their mothers have no control over them. Indeed they have no parental control as they were under the supervision of elderly rebels and the influence of hard drugs.

These rebels who were actually child combatants held us hostage in that besieged vicinity for two terrible weeks with barely any food or drink. On the 18th of January ECOMOG attacked the base of these child combatants (rebels) and their adult rebels and the latter dispersed into the nearby hills around the East -end of Freetown and others disappeared down the peninsula. Allen town, Calabatown, Porty Areas were then under ECOMOG stronghold. We never knew that this was just for a while ((as we were already praising ECOMOG for our redemtion.

On Friday 22nd January, about 1 PM the child combatants (rebel) the fiercest amongst the group who were still lurking around the hills regrouped and attacked ECOMOG positions.

My family and I ran for safety to a new location in the same eastern of freetown.exchanges of gunshots rang and we have faith thatthe little boys (childsoldiers) will be easily thrashed by ECOMOG. they were underrated and these tiny guirella fighters beat ECOMOG back.

My father, mother, sister, brother,cousins melted away for safety and none of us knew where the others where at those various locations of hiding.

The child solider eventually met us at our hiding as they were desperating searching for food. they first sportted one of us as they were desperately searching for food. they threatened an individual to show where the others were hiding. The man who was asked to show our location was too slow in answering the child soldier and so he was shot at.

We were all then captured, threatened to expose ECOMOG position.The elder rebels as well as the child soldier began to beat us wiand the bottom of there guns.

One of the child solider (rebels)emphasized that we must be pushed out of our hiding places to the compound and tied in groups so as to kill us all in a body.

I brandished any school I.D. card and showed it to the child rebels. I was in fright and so could not talk to anyone of the rebels. I later desired their entire audience. rebels said they were not intrested in my I.D. card or any school business. I implored that insted of my been killed let them join their ranks.

They all refused and one of the rebels volluntered that he will take the task of killing me.

By that time rebel who op ted to chop off my head had been attracted to the spot where his colleagnes were busy burning houses and cars. Soon the child rebel odered me to open my mouth to shoot in. I refused, scolded him firmly up on his wrist. I was asked by his colleagues whether I intended making a fight. During the scuffle the rebel child soldier I scolded shot at me at my right jaw and I fell. By then our house was still in flames. One of the child soldiers who initially over heard me pleading to join them was unhappy because I pleaded but his colleagues could not listen. He dragged me to a new location where I crept away from our burning home rough the back door. The house collapsed under the pressure of burning flames. I continued to bleed seriously and made desperate attempts to crawl pass the flames into the streets and a search for safer zones. I stumbled at a place called K'-Step', where I passed the night in horrible pain.

At dawn my head became more swollen and I felt weak to move any further. I managed to move and a bit to 'Congo Town' where I was lucky to meet with my elder brothers.

They placed me in a push cart since there was no vehicle and we headed for the hospital. There were corpses all around, litred in the Cannaught Hospital and the place was stinking. ECOMOG had regained their strength and there was no fear any longer but the damage of lives and property was so visible that I thought nothing was actually accomplished. Yet we have been rescued in pain and at the point of death. The Red Cross officials could give me only dry first aids with no medicines. Not out of wickedness but it sounds they have ran out of drugs.

Thanks to a kind man, Dr Boima who single handedly helped me with a drip and prevented the blood to continue oozing from my head. dr Boima X-rayed my head and noticed that their was a bullet hiding in. My neck was put on POP because for weeks it became unsteady. My relatives and others who visited me feared I will not survive. I was later transferred to the ICRC office where war victims were treated. I was there for three months and they removed the bullets from my spinal cord that was detected by Dr Boima's X-ray. Although I recovered gradually, I am still suffering from Persistent head aches and have not been able to go to school for the past three years. I can even not open my mouth as I used to in the natural way or to its normal size after the child combatants (rebels) and their elders attacked. When the sun is hot I often loose my eye-sight and psycho. Up till now, I cannot forget my ordeals. when I sit down alone I feel frightened that I am being chased. When I see smaller boys playing with toy guns, I catch cold and even sometimes collapse.

I can no more play football or excersise with friends. My health is no longer the same. I cannot read for even 25 minutes or else my neck will ache seriously.

I appeal for help and continue to ask for assistance here in Sierra Leone but to no avail. I want some body to take me away from this setting so that I will not even see these ex-child compatants who have damaged my life. I want a setting where there is love, peace and hamony. When I sleep I dream of the violence and when I awake I see it as if it has occured again and my health deteriorates. That is the consequence!

Youth Arise!!

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