Sahr Nyuma

  • My Educational Goal:

A diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies.

  • My Career Goal:

Many students may give various answers if they are asked to show their career goal. Such answers will be a profession like doctors, lawyers, administrators, police officers, teachers, contractors and so on. These answers may be based either on economic, social or political considerations.

Similarly my career goal is to become a Human Rights activist in the future. This decision is however based on religious grounds. To fulfill this ambition I am presently doing Peace and Conflict Resolution at Fourah Bay College. Before this I have been doing some voluntary work with some humanitarian organizations such as the IRC, as a peer educator, and the International Red Cross Society.

The simple reason for this is to help spread the work of human rights across the world. My career goal can only be achieved when the people themselves are conscious of their rights, when the government of various countries endorse human rights in their constitutions and see that they are not violated.

  • Personal Experience of War:

My encounter in August 1995 still remains fresh in my mind. I went on holidays to stay with my uncle who was a police officer in Moyamba Town. Two weeks after my arrival the town was attacked and captured by rebels. They seized the police barracks where we were staying and lit some quarters with petrol. My uncle was killed as well as his wife and three children and several others more. Fifty-three of us were captured and locked up in the canteen until the following morning.

After the shooting had died down, they brought us out and conducted interviews to know who is a policeman and what tribe do you belong. Of course students were asked to push in one direction. They lined up the grown-up men and killed them at once. They were 21 in number. Some women and teenagers were raped.

When they reached us, the students, we were asked to show our names and ID cards. Those who had Temne names were lined up for another massacre. After presenting my ID, they immediately rushed at me and beat me up massively. Their commander put it to me directly that I was the son or brother to Tommy Nyuma, a very brave and powerful soldier. The rebel commander instructed me to lick the wound of one of the rebels (a very old wound). After that, they continued to beat me and put out their cigarettes on my body. Before I was to be executed, another command came that I should dig my own grave. My executioner took me to the site and brought me a hoe and shovel to dig a hole of six feet in just an hour. I was to be killed by twelve noon and the time was 11am when I commenced the digging, with two rebels guiding me. When the commander came to see how far the work has gone, he ordered me to stop the digging and called for a rifle to kill me.

As God would have it, before they could bring the rifle, he gave another order that they should tie my feet to a tree and leave me suspended until I died. During the process of tying my feet, the government troops attacked them; they left me and ran away. The soldiers untied me and gave me immediate medical attention. Each time I remember it, I feel bad.

  • My Experience in Peace:

In a peaceful nation like Sierra Leone I have experienced so many things that many societies are yearning for.

In the first place there is complete tolerance of human rights. No more discrimination against women. They can now participate fully in politics, in decision-making, have a right to education and domestic violence against them is minimized.

Democracy is also on the increase. No more one party system, free and fair elections and there is complete press freedom. Causes relating to human rights are being taught in schools and colleges.

In time of peace, I have also experienced that development is taking place at a very rapid rate. Donors pump in money to upgrade the standard of living of the people.

The population of the country at present is increasing tremendously. The crime rate is on the maximum increase. This is as a result of the large unemployment rate of the youth who form the vast majority of the population. I have also experienced that the larger towns and cities are over crowded, making labor unavailable in the villages.

Broken marital home and prostitution are things I experienced. You can see so many teenagers and young girls in the street. This is why AIDS and STDS are rapidly pervading the country.

By and large I am still experiencing happiness among families, lovers, and communities. Increase in trade and country's foreign relation is also the things our peaceful nation is experiencing.