Our writings section features stories addressing the issue of ChildSoldiers written by youth in Sierra Leone
The Moment I'll Never Regret in My Childhood
Written by: Ulric Quee iEARN-Sierra Leone Freetown
It was the 2nd day of June 1997, about a week after the democratic elected government was overthrown. The entire city surrounded with heavy sound of guns and bombs. The then government in power (AFRC), combined with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) tried to take the hotel a foreign troop was guarding.
About 11.00am we heard the sound of heavy firing taking place and the sound is drawing very closer to us, by the time I came to realize myself, all my family members had gone and I was left alone, knowing not what to do, I decided to hide myself inside the house. (I was only 12years old at that time).
I heard someone talking, when I peeped out, I saw 3 gunmen with rolls of bullets rapping round there necks. I draw back when I saw them I know they were about my age. So I said to myself, let me come out these guys wont harm me. As soon as I came out, then one of them shouts, "Commando!! Enemy!! Where is he!! Click!! Click!! Getting ready to pull the trigger. Down on my knees ready for what ever they were going to say. I thought that this would be my last day. They ordered me to move to the corner, and ask me if there's no food. For they've not eaten anything for the past three days. When they finished eating they said they were going to take me along with them, and then I tried to plead, then the youngest boys of about age 9yrs said are you going or choose to die? Then I said ok but please don't hurt me. We went along.
Early 1998, we (crowned rebel at that time) were driven away from the city. We pulled out to the extreme end of the country, that's the diamond rich town of Kono. We were brained washed about the reality of life. We started doing all sorts of bad games, no child game, inject with cocaine on the head and the given marijuana and alcohol, before going to the war front. I slept with countless number of women older than my mother. I became a strong fighter and I was the best amongst the fighter of my age and so the commando like my attitude and so decided that I live with him in the same flat. I gained my name commando "small pepper" when we went to attack a nearby village that was occupied by the kamajors, we fall into an ambush, two miles long and we were all like dead, having nothing to do. I fought relentlessly and save the life of my commando and retreat to base, almost all of our men died. I was doing all this not with myself but with the "moral buster" that I took before leaving for the battlefield. The "moral buster" includes Cocaine, marijuana, alcohol and a glass of human blood.
I spent 3yrs like this in the jungle, never thought I'll see my family again. After the peace agreement was signed I was taken to the city and they tried to bring me to my family. I'm different now, I'll not be able to live with my family, I'm a solja, I like the sound of guns, I've been used to the jungle, I want "moral buster". I feel excited when I heard the sound of guns, but now I'm lonely, living like this is too boring.
"Why can't you give us education? Instead you give us guns and moral buster. Stop bringing children into arm conflict.
We don't want to be a childsolja; we want to be professor and leaders. Help us!!"
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