War victim declares “Revenge will not bring my mother back alive”

Bonfire in Jaama village

A young man whose mother was killed in his presence during the war in Kailahun district has said that even if he resorts to revenge, that will not, in any way, bring her back.

Dennis Allieu was testifying during a Fambul Tok reconciliation ceremony in Jaama village, Upper Bambara chiefdom, Kailahun district on Thursday June 7, 2012. His testimony echoes the sentiments of thousands of other who, having lost loved ones during the war, realize that violence is not a constructive means of dealing with their deaths.

According to Dennis, during the war, his family managed to escape rebel incursion and were in the process of traveling to seek safe haven. He told the gathering that they (his mother Adama and himself) came across the fearful looking Umaru, a rebel soldier. Dennis’ mother, who was almost nine months pregnant at the time, was then killed in front of him. As a result of what he witnessed, he explained, he has had a hard time carrying on, and is even struggling to complete his education.

In his testimony, Umaru admitted his responsibility in Adama’s death, and acknowledged that what Dennis has explained was true without contradictions.

The former rebel fighter then apologized to Dennis and other people he wronged during the war.

“I take responsibility for my actions during the war but again I ask  our traditional  leaders and  others present to forgive me,” Umaru remorsefully told the gathering.

In a very solemn mood, Dennis, for the very first time since the war, shook hands with Umaru. Both Umaru and Dennis, amidst their tears, agreed to reconcile in the interest of peace rebuilding their community.