Friday, February 23, 2007

Hawa Fofana, Sierra Leone, "I want God to take my life away"

FREETOWN, 22 February (IRIN) - Hawa Fofana, 65, lives in Kailahun town, the main town of Sierra Leone's diamond-rich and heavily forested eastern province of Kailahun District, which lies near the borders with Guinea and Liberia. The town was the main stronghold of the country's rebel movement, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), some 300km from the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown.

"Now that the war in our country is over and peace is being consolidated, I am still not feeling happy. Throughout the 12 years of RUF occupation of Kailahun town, the rebel fighters killed all of my seven children, the oldest being 30 years old while the youngest was at age 20 at the time."

"Before they were killed, four young soldiers first shot my children in the legs and they told me to laugh as they were carrying out their mayhem. I saw how painful their killings were and they kept crying for mercy and crying my name."

"I cannot imagine being without children now. The RUF fighters killed all the children in 1999 claiming that they were not supporting their movement. I saw them being butchered like sheep."

"No one is helping me with daily activities as my children were doing for me. I hardly get food to eat, as old as I am, because I cannot work. I depend on handouts from neighbours and other residents in this town who know my condition. I am suffering from severe leg pain. I hardly walk long distances."

" I have no feeling of wanting to live on this earth even today. I want God to take my life away."

Link to Reuters AlertNet - SIERRA LEONE: Hawa Fofana, Sierra Leone, "I want God to take my life away