War & Revolution photo page

   Rwandan refugees fleeing the capital, Kigali, during the civil conflict

                                                           Ivory Coast [Cote d'Ivoire ]
Yamoussoukro is the birth village of former president Houphouet-Boigny. He made this village the capital of his country. The biggest cathedral in the world was built in this place (the top of St Peters in Rome is a bit higher, but this cathedral has a big cross on top of it, making it higher). "Some say that nothing else could make Africa seem more absurd".



 Palestinian protesters marking the 50th anniversary of "al-Nakba" or "catastrophe", the date of Israel's creation.

 Israeli soliders harassed a Palestinian in East Jerusalem Thursday during a two-minute period of silence protesting Israel's creation 50 years ago.

                            interpersonal violence

A public-awareness poster shows a battered Polish woman                    A billboard in Warsaw showing a girl's battered face says,
and her child with the caption: "Because the soup was too             "Because he had to let off steam."

        "Because he had to let off steam."

WHO declares war on malaria which kills 3 million a year.


Though a military junta in Sierra Leone was ousted this year, with the help of a British mercenary group, fighting has continued in parts of the country. About 150 supporters of the former junta were reportedly killed by Nigerian intervention forces and militiamen on Monday. Junta supporters have been terrorizing civilians, often cutting off their hands or feet, as with the patients shown here at a hospital in Freetown.

Mohammed Sesay at Connaught Hospital in Freetown,
             Sierra Leone, after rebels cut off his hands.

  By NORIMITSU ONISHI  January 26, 1999
  FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- "I asked them to kill me now," Mohammed Sesay remembered pleading after he was caught by rebels gripping machetes.
  But they ignored him. They held his arms flat on a tree stump. And he felt the machete fall on a wrist, then on the other.
  "This," the rebels told him, "is an example to show the president."
  Hacking off hands and feet of ordinary people has been a key weapon of a widespread campaign of terror and butchery waged by rebels in Sierra Leone trying to overthrow this ravaged country's president. In recent days, the fighting has reached the capital, marking another brutish turn in a civil war that has pushed Sierra Leone to the brink of disintegration.
  After nearly seizing Freetown, only to be pushed back by Nigerian-led forces last week, the rebels have retreated eastward into the surrounding mountains brandishing the threat of a future assault. As they fled, the rebels shot thousands of civilians dead and mutilated hundreds of others.
  Over the weekend, scores of men, women and children, with hands chopped off or dangling limply from their forearms, have flooded the main medical center, Connaught Hospital. A few days earlier, the hospital had received so many wounded and dead that corpses lying in the driveway had drawn dogs and vultures. By the weekend, hospital officials had recorded 2,768 dead in Freetown.
  "In my lifetime this is the worst I have ever seen," said Dr. Johnston Taylor, in the middle of surgery in a small, unlit operating room, the smell of sweat- and blood-soaked clothes clinging to the airless room.
  With Freetown under siege for two weeks, deserted by nearly all international humanitarian organizations, Taylor was performing surgery without anesthetic. His patient, a young man whose left leg had been shattered by a bullet, punctuated the surgeon's words with moans.
  "The last one was worst," the surgeon said, referring to the fighting last February when Nigerian-led forces had expelled the same rebels from Freetown. "Now I don't know what adjective I should use to describe what is happening now. I don't know whether there is a better adjective to use than worst. It's unimaginable to see what we are doing to ourselves."
  On the day that a Nigerian soldier found Sesay slipping into unconsciousness on a street and brought him to Connaught, surgeons performed so many amputations that they tossed severed hands into a communal bucket.
  As his brother Ishmael carried a spoonful of milk to his lips, Sesay, 29, lay on his bed and recalled that he had fled his family house in eastern Freetown after rebels calling themselves Sergeant Burnhouse and Captain Blood burst inside and shot dead eight of his relatives.
  Like many other victims, Sesay knew the killers; they lived in his neighborhood, and he and his brothers had even considered them friends. Like many other victims, he was also told that they would keep him alive but turn him into a political message.
  Atop a mountain overlooking Freetown, inside a heavily guarded compound, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah had not descended yet into the city to see the bandaged stumps on Sesay's arms or other mutilated people, because of safety concerns, said his spokesman, Septimus Kaikai. Kabbah was also unavailable for comment.
  "The president is resting," Kaikai told journalists visiting the compound.
  About the injured and the dead, Kaikai said: "These are the things that happen as a result of war. If you go to Vietnam, there was a lot of carnage. If you go to Cambodia, there was a lot of carnage."
  In 1996, after years of civil war, Kabbah, a lawyer and a former official of the U.N. Development Program, became this West African country's first democratically elected president, before being overthrown a year later by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council and the Revolutionary United Front.
  With virtually no national army, Kabbah relied on a West African peacekeeping force known as Ecomog, led by Nigeria, to regain power last March. Since then, the ousted rebels -- who are backed by neighboring Liberia, according to Washington and other Western governments -- have massacred villagers in eastern and northern Sierra Leone, even as they prepared another assault on Freetown.
  Although mass killings have occurred elsewhere in Africa, the rebels here have distinguished themselves by not killing their victims, but by mutilating them and leaving them as living symbols of terror. Rebel leaders have denied the mutilations, accusing the Kamajors, an untrained, civilian defense force that includes many boys and is supporting the president.
  Last summer, the New York-based Human Rights Watch released a report concluding that the Kamajors had committed abuses but that most of the atrocities up to then had been committed by the rebels.
  At Connaught Hospital -- a dilapidated two-story structure built in the 1920s by the British, the country's former colonial rulers, and with 212 beds, Sierra Leone's biggest hospital -- the survivors all accused the rebels.
  In Ward 2, Mohammed Sesay, a farmer who is not related to the other Sesay and did not know his own age, stood with his 2-year son, Osman, whose fractured head was bandaged like a bicycle helmet. A couple of weeks earlier, rebels had invaded the family's house outside Freetown.
  "They caught his mama and chopped, chopped her," Sesay said. "Then they threw him inside the toilet."
  On Saturday, long lines of refugees streamed into central Freetown from the east. At Connaught Hospital, as guards kept the main gates locked, the most seriously injured were brought inside, past the main entrance.
  Just inside the gates, amid scores of injured waiting to be treated, Danka Koromoh stood, indomitable, over three of her daughters. Her 3-year-old was uninjured, but flies buzzed around the bloodied bandaged stump where 14-year-old Mariama's left hand used to be. Aissatou, 12, sat next to her mother's right leg, her two hands severed.
  Mrs. Koromoh said the rebels had also sliced off the hands of her 8-year-old daughter and had kidnapped the 13-year-old.
  "They killed my sister and my husband," she said.
  A few feet away, Lamine Jusugarka, 46, the father of six, sat slumped on the concrete ground, both hands gone. His niece, Isata Bangura, 15, whose parents had been killed two days earlier, fed him potato chips. His wife sat nearby, crying, her kneecaps smashed by a hammer-wielding rebel.
  The day before, according to Jusugarka, a former security guard at Barclays Bank, rebels had invaded his neighborhood east of Freetown. Most were young men, or even boys, led by a rebel who called himself Junior.
  "He's a young man I can handle and deal with" under normal circumstances, Jusugarka said.
  But the rebels, pointing guns, forced him and his neighbors under a mango tree.
  "Because there was a root on where you could put your hands firmly," he recalled. "Then he took a big ax and cut your hand instantly. Tell you to put another one. You put it. Cut it. We were 50 in number.
  "Oh, I felt so bad," he said. "I felt as if I am finishing the world. My eyes were dark. My blood was pumping as if they had opened a tank, a water tank to run. Oh, I fell down. I could not see my way.
  "We were in the line. One after another. You go next. When they finished with you, when they cut your two hands, you run. They say, 'Move! If you don't move, we'll fire on you.' Fifty on that particular day."