Sierra Leone marks 20 years since the end of the civil war

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Tuesday, 18th of January marked 20 years since the end of the brutal conflict in Sierra Leone.

The civil war left tens of thousands of people dead. The use of child soldiers was also widespread in the country.

Many still carry the scars left by the conflict.

Ibrahim Sorie Jabati is a former child soldier, today he works as a taxi driver.

“We were taken to a big town called PC Ground. There were many child soldiers and women. My boss was called Komba Gudama. They took me to a training camp, we underwent training for three months until we were passing out.” He recalls.

Despite the painful memories, Ibrahim was determined to build a better life for himself and his family.

“Actually I thank God now because I have a family now with four children, my first son is now in Grade 5. God has not made it possible for me to achieve what I expected but thank God I have been able to build a three-bedroom flat in my village and I’m still trying.” He added.

Another former child soldier, Ishmael Charles, was enrolled when he was only nine years old. Today, at 38 years old, the past is still present in his life.

“I mean the reality is, every time when I speak about it, there are raw images that still come to mind. It’s a reality that I will always live with because experiences are very difficult to actually forget.” He said.

Twenty years after the conflict, Sierra Leone is still trying to recover from the civil war and it is one of the poorest countries in the world.