Our writings section features stories addressing the issue of ChildSoldiers written by youth in Sierra Leone
The Behaviour of Child Combatant
by Desmond Lebbie Age 18 of the Government Model Secondary School. Freetown, Sierra Leoene
First, to start with child combatant is the act of inaugurating young children into arm conflict. This has now become very common in most war effected countries . The case of this has brought up different stories about combating in my environment. Here is a story about a young boy in Sierra Leone at the age of 8yrs. He was arrested, and taking to the jungle, until he was 20yrs old.
Our story begins with a corrupted and instable system of political set up, wherein the natural well being of the nation was at stake and living was a privilege to only few people. Because of this, even education was now seen as privilege and not a right to children. This resulted into the formation of many fractions and some dropped out of the country. Because their were no jobs facility and no more support for them to continue schooling. This arose alarm in the mind of few so called 'conscious citizens'. In the meantime, there was reported armed robbery in the country and this caused serious problems too.
As all this was happening with the downward political status, the youths were then finding ways to solve their problems as they were now tired of sitting in ghettos. Some of these youths who were in schools and colleges wrote to the Government appealing for reduction in school fees but the Government deed nothing to help. The next thing they did was to write outside country for help. When this help was delivered it was not given to the youth directly but to the children of ministers and stake holders in Government. As a result of this the youth elders who were in combat decided they will be masters of their own progress and this struggle began in the south - east part of the country.
However, as all this was carrying on with this political wind of the country, Mama Kadiatu and Pa Allimamy were living in a village with their one and only son Abu the problem also but him as both parent were not in place to send Abu to school, but never the less he was living happily with his people.
Moreover, it came up to a time wherein the human standard of living went behind expectation and below control as a result of this revolution the youth became frustrated and were mislead by greedy politicians. Among these children was Abu at age of 8yrs. He was taken from his parents into the jungle he was given drugs and ammunition to carry on his devilish work. As he thought his life was happy over every thing that was going on with him in the jungle he said to himself "I am happy to live in the bush other than living in a town... here I have got tape, radio, television, women and with the help of my gun, today I am even richer than my parents. Men are made to die".
Finally, we are introduce to his maturity stage wherein he became conscious of what he was doing. This happened to him when , he one day it happened that he was watching his television set and saw a programme of youth in universities and in higher places of the society and state. He thought about his life and cried saying; "This is not life! If I have known before I should not partake in this but here I am living in the bush like an animal. My master the rebel leader is in one of the best hotels in the world. what am I really finding in the bush, I don't know!" he started thinking of his mother 'Mama Kadiatu' praying and asking God when shall he see him again. Fortunately for him the UNAMSIL (United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone), came and they started disarming; he was among the first group to disarm and led skilled work as a carpenter and later a motor mechanic. He then changed life for the better and settled home as he said. I am finally apologising to the nation and promise to be a change young man.