Africa’ bloodiest civil war pillaged the Lion Mountain of this continent, a decade of senseless war raged in Sierra Leone, fuelled by Blood Diamonds. Men, women and children’s hands, arms, limbs and feet were hacked off by the swing of a machete. The perpetrators were disillusioned rebels under the command of Liberian War lord; Charles Taylor .The war inflicted a heavy toll on human capital. With approximately 20,000 deaths, 20 million displaced some 27,000 registered amputees according to UN analysis.

'The Devil in Freetown (January 6)' is Collins Archie-Pearce's latest venture. It depicts a true recounting of Sierra Leone’s ten year civil war. The ethos of this movie is to showcase the resilience of Sierra Leone and her people in rising up from the ashes of the war despite the human, structural and societal destruction it experience. This beautiful story line brought to life by the first-hand information volunteered by those who were affected by the war demonstrating the trauma that they went through. The date January 6th 1999, will be forever etched in the minds of Sierra Leoneans as the bloodiest day of the war. The movie reveals tha inhumane activities which took place in what had once been one of Africa’s most peaceful country.

War brings pain, despair, insurmountable loss and desolation. The message to everyone especially Sierra Leoneans is clear - the peace of one’s country/native land must be maintained and preserved at all cost. Hence the effects of this 'Blood Diamonds' fuelled war are still prevalent in the lives of many today – the war afflicted amputees.

In post conflict Sierra Leone, people with disabilities and amputations (attributed to the methodical dismemberment of civilians during war; which resulted in thousands of innocents losing hands, arms, legs) are more marginalised. Exclusion from services, community activities and productive opportunities increase the risk for amputees to fall into extreme poverty and be exploited by unscrupulous individuals. If intervention is not implemented, a vicious web of acute underclass for generations unborn could be created

70% of the population are living below poverty line, 26% are classified as extremely poor with the majority categorised as physically challenged. Life expectancy is 39 years whilst health and education indicators are among the lowest in the world. Many amputees in the provinces are not registered due to lack of access to auditing.

The producers of Devil in Freetown have pledged to render a percentage of the movie premiere’s proceeds to Melqosh Mission International, a UK based Charity, birthed to equip, educate and empower war afflicted amputees and their dependents. For more information about this humanitarian organisation, please visit their website.

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The Devil in Freetown

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