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NEWS : Local News  


Iraqi returnee explains ordeal in Sierra Leone
By Vidal Boltman
Feb 2, 2006, 11:09

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A good number of people who went to Iraq to seek greener pastures have returned home. Some of the returnees say they were obliged to return home courtesy of the harsh conditions out there and the level of insecurity that characterized there star there.

Others say they deemed it fit to return home because they have completed half of their contract term.


President Kabbah: Your citizens are complaining

Some even complained that the government of Sierra Leone did make a blunder by allowing its citizens to have taken the risk of venturing into war-torn Iraq.

On Saturday last week, one such returnee explained his ordeal to Awareness Times in an exclusive interview.

The gentleman who doesnt want his name disclosed, noted in an angry tone that the Sierra Leone government ought to have properly examined the merits and demerits before allowing its citizens to have embarked on such a dangerous mission to Iraq.

The governments failure to do that according to him, amounts to an attempt to auction the lives of poor Sierra Leoneans.

He however thanked God that most of them who have so far arrived are in good shape.

He said when the flight took off from Lungi, they transited in Libya but that nobody was allowed to disembark.

From thereon, he stated that they were taken directly to Baghdad.

The first experience they had was the hot temperature that characterized the whole of Baghdad during there star, he said, adding that nearly all of them were forced to use sun glasses.

As for the contract signed between them and their employers, he said Sierra Leoneans happened to have signed the least contract, pointing out that because of that their counterparts from other countries whose contracts were far more encouraging, were provoking them by referring to them as "cheap Labour"

That notwithstanding, Sierra Leoneans were given the hardest works to do. For instance, he explained that a single Sierra Leonean was obliged to wash over 500 plates and 5000 spoons per day, and that during the process of washing the plates and spoons if anyone got damaged the employers will deduct the cost of the damaged item from his or her allowance.

"We were working directly with the Americans", he said. As for their personal security, the young man explained that they were far from being secured. He noted that throughout the day while they were busy doing their daily chores, they used to see missiles flying above their heads from all directions.

This he said was a worrying situation for them because they were never made to understand that that was the kind of situation they were going to be confronted with.

The only good thing he said they can boast about was the opportunity given to them to benefit from skills training which were climaxed by the issuance of certificates.

Asked whether because of the unemployment rate in the country he has any intention to go back to Iraq, he responded in the negative.


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