Peter Osman Sandy Bangura

  • My Educational Goal:

Teach community people their civil and political rights and to have respect for every human being living in society, advocate the essence for the culture of peace to be observed in any state.

  • My Career Goal:

Become a lawyer/barrister in the international scene, e.g. ICJ.

  • Personal Experience of War:

My first experience in peace building exercise was when the democratically elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone was overthrown in 1997 May 25 by the AFRC military junta. I was member of a particular CBO (community based organization) called Youths Initiative Campaign for Social Action (YICSA) and I was the group leader. We were asked by the stakeholders as youth to vent our dissatisfaction with the military junta (AFRC). The media was the main medium for condemning their rule, and a Radio Station was set up at Lungi then called 98.1 (but later called Radio Democracy) to do this.

We, as a group, decided to act as informants for the radio station. We were asked to give solid and accurate information about the AFRC and RUF. I was asked to work in the western end of Freetown because I had grown up there and that is where these unscrupulous guys were deployed.

On the 15th of July 1997 I decided to get some information about where the rebel/military forces were based in the city. I dressed like a student and carried a file. It was a big risk but one I was willing to take in order to effect change from the oppressive, tyrannical regime (AFRC). I took the route leading to their checkpoint. Many people were going through the checkpoint so I was surprised when they stopped me and asked me why I was there. They accused me of being an informant. I told them that I thought it was a public passage and I was rushing to attend class, as I was a student.

One of the guards with a gun gave my jaw three slaps and two kicks before continuing to interrogate me. I continued to say I was a student as confidently as I could. They finally locked me in a small room and I was there about five hours as they called for the Commander to come and decide what to do with me. After he arrived there was some more interrogation and they asked if I supported the regime (I said a big "yes"). Finally they released me with a condition. The commander told me to leave and not look back as I covered the 300 yards to the next junction. What clicked in my mind was to cover the distance without being shot, thinking they might shoot me in the back as I walked away. I kept myself from panicking until I disappeared around the corner at the junction and they could see me no more.

I returned with the information to the Station. Finally in 1998 AFRC was dislodged by the ECOMOG soldiers.