Ahmed M Kamara
- My Educational Goal:
I am a student in the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies.
- My Career Goal:
I want to be a human rights lawyer so that I will be able to do my own part to stop or reduce the humanitarian abuses that led to the war in my country. I want to say "never and never again" should we as a people engage in such unspeakable acts.
- Personal Experience of War:
I first experienced war on the 11th March 1994 when my hometown of Kabala, Koinadugu District was attacked by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) by the then Corporal Fodoy S. Sankoh. The attack was horrific. People were running up and down the town for fear of being killed or amputated by the rebels. I could not cope with the situation. I was just 14 years old and I had little or no experience about war, so I had to join the other people trying to vacate the town for then the whole town was in total pandemonium. The sound of guns and bombs from the advancing rebels took over the town. The whereabouts of my mother, father, sisters, and brothers were not known. Everybody in the town including me disappeared into the thick forest in the mountains. I had to walk on foot through those mountains day and night amongst other displaced people in a forest full of wild animals for nine days without food or proper/good drinking water until I was able to reach the border of Guinea. Upon reaching there I and other displaced people were registered by the World Food Program and taken to a camp where I met my family members with the exception of my younger sister (13) who was captured and gang raped and killed by the rebels.
The camp was also not safe; there was an outbreak of cholera. Women and girls had to sell sex for food; young boys and men were summarily executed by the foreign (Guinean and Nigerian) troops mistaking them to be rebels or renegade soldiers. After some months, in 1995, the camp was also attacked and my brother and I were captured by the rebels and forced to carry heavy loads on our heads to their headquarters in the mountains while our parents ran into Guinea and became refugees. One day on our war to the rebel's headquarters, we were attacked by ECOMOG fighters belonging to the Nigerians so I was able to escape leaving my brother in the bush. I had to find my way in the bush until I finally reached the government troops in Kabala but unfortunately for me I was arrested and tied up as a rebel suspect. Later I was released after being identified by the tribal chief in the town. After several months in 1996 I traveled to Freetown with the intention to go back to school. Unfortunately for me the following year 1997, I lost my father and brother. And the same year there was a military takeover (AFRC) which brought the entire country to a state of anarchy. The place I was living at got bombed during the military intervention by the ECOMOG forces led by the Nigerians. From that time until the end of the war I lost everything including my dignity as a human being.
- My Experience in Peace:
Before the war, during the 80s, the country was peaceful. I used to stay with my family In Kono, eastern region of SL. My father was a technician and my mother was a businesswoman so they were able to provide for us. All of us were going to government schools. There was enough food to eat and good drinking water. After school we would usually go to our backyard garden to look after the chickens, ducks and water the vegetables. And sometimes we would go to the fields to plant. During the holidays we would travel to Freetown or Kabala in buses without fear of being ambushed as it was before the war.
While on holidays in Freetown I would visit the beaches, watch football matches at the Stadium and in Kabala I would go to the forest to hunt. It was really nice back then. Even after the announcement that the war was over in 2002 times were still hard compared to the days before the war. Notwithstanding these facts, the country is relatively peaceful. I can now sleep at night peacefully. I now have the opportunity to go back into the university system. The country has had two democratic and peaceful elections. There is no running up and down again and life is stable. My mother even though very old now is living peacefully in Kabala and I usually visit her during the university break. She is always happy, more so when I told her that I am now in the university because that was my parents' dream.