The National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) in collaboration with its implementing partner Hope Sierra Leone has restored the dignity of war victims and also provided a befitting reburial of the dead within the Bonthe Mainland at a historic and memorable symbolic ceremony held over the weekend.
War victims and perpetrators expressed compassion grief and reflection for the dead and war affected and pledged from the bottom of their hearts that NO MORE WAR by forgetting the past and moving forward for the rapid development of the District.
Local authorities expressed gratitude to Hope Sierra Leone and NaCSA for taking the bold step to care for those severely affected by the brutal civil war by providing them with shelter, medical, micro credit and schooling for children.
Delivering painful testimonies at the symbolic reparation ceremony held at a Community center a cross section of war victims in Mattru Jong and Tihun in the Sogbeni Chiefdom promised to forgive and reconcile with perpetrators to give peace a chance.
Hope Sierra Leone Director John Bangura explained to war victims that his organization is based on moral principles and also work towards reconciliation, democracy and Peace Building among communities.
John Bangura noted that the objective of Hope Sierra Leone is to unite people across regional and tribal boundaries and also help to build true development in the country based on equal rights and justice.
Director of Hope Sierra Leone John Bangura also explained the symbolic reparation program to residents of Bonthe Mainland and its authorities. Noting that during the war several crimes against humanity were committed and it is in that vain that they are remembering the dead and war victims.
Director Bangura further explained that Hope Sierra Leone during the cause of their work in Bonthe had discovered mass graves in Mattru and Tihun where over (500) five hundred people comprising of the aged, adults, youths and children were either burnt to ashes, slaughtered or shot.
He called on residents to put the legacies of the war at their back to move forward for the development of the district. Clarifying further he said that war victims are the major beneficiaries of the reparation program
Hope Sierra Leone has been very instrumental in building peace and unity among political parties and communities. It is against this backdrop that the organization is implementing partner for the National Commission for Social Action (NaCSA) with funds from Government, UN-PBF, IOM and the Government of Germany has discovered several mass graves within the Bonthe Mainland during a symbolic reparation ceremony held at Mattru Jong for war victims.
Paramount Chief of Mattru Alie Badara Sheriff, Chairman of Bonthe District Council Moses Probyn and the Mayor of Bonthe Gilbert Caulker expressed gratitude to the Government through NaCSA and Hope Sierra Leone for remembering those that were severely affected by the war.
The District authorities gave a historical background of the war and its consequences on the people and the land.
They commended NaCSA for creating the social Justice Program for war victims by remembering the dead and also improving the lives of war victims. Concluding they also appealed to NaCSA and Hope Sierra Leone to extend the date and place of registration of war victims as far as Bonthe Island and other areas that were not targeted during the first phase of the registration.
NaCSA Senior Director of Programmes Dr. William Konteh and the Reparation Program Manager Amadu Bangura gave brief background of NaCSA activities and further explained the reparation program and the intended target beneficiaries who had already registered for the program.
Amadu Bangura further explained that war victims have been registered in various categories and that widows, amputees and school children will be adequately cared for with housing facilities, medical, micro credit and school fees for children to SSS III.
Delivering the key note address the Deputy Commissioner of NaCSA Charles Rogers implored residents of Bonthe to support the reparation program as it may likely be extended to Bonthe Island. He added that at long last war victims have been recognized and encouraged residents of Bonthe to work towards the development of their area.
By Saidu Bah