By Bai Bai Sesay – Former soldier in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces over the weekend apologized to the people of Kono district for what happened during the war years.
Mohamed Savage,alias,Col. Savage, former commander of the defunct Armed Forces Revolutionary Council(AFRC)in Kono said he regretted joining the Army as at the end of the day he did not realize anything positive. He was testifying at a bon fire ceremony facilitated by Fambul Tok,a community reconciliation programme
Savage said he joined the Army to protect lives and property adding that after a long spell he was accused of committing atrocities against people of this country. He said during 1998,he had soldiers as well as rebels with him and went on to state that he was only a figure head and most of the atrocities committed was not under his command.
“All I went through does not in any way make sense to me as I did not realize any benefit but still grappling with pains in my heart ‘Savage states
He called on the people of Kono to forgive him stressing that he knows that there are still tears in the eyes of victims and survivors.
The former commander testified that he had already been punished as he was at the Pademba road maximum prisons for over 8years for his role during the Westside period. He offered cola nuts to traditional leaders, women and youth as a symbol of peace and knelt down asking for mercy.
Paramount Chief of Kamaa chiefdom,Aiah Melvin Ngekia after receiving the cola nuts asked his subjects to listen carefully to Savage. He said if he has come down to them to ask for forgiveness, people should give him the opportunity he was also part and parcel of Kono.
One of the testifiers,Femba Karku stated that even though she was shot and her uncle killed in Tombodu in 1998,she has no alternative but to forgive whoever did the act.