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  I didn't want to leave my country
Updated 20 June 2003, 14.02
Kamajor militia members
Armed men on the streets of Freetown

Friday 20 June is International Refugee Day.

Sahid is a refugee who fled Sierra Leone, in West Africa, where he saw a lot of violence.

He became a refugee in Britain.

This is his story.

"I was nine when I left my home in Sierra Leone to come to England. I didn't want to leave my country, but I had to because of a war.

Rebel soldiers
Rebel soldiers
Rebel soldiers there wanted to train children from our village as fighters to kill my people. They tried to take me away from my family to be their slave.

Burning tyres

One day at midnight when I was sleeping, my gran pinched me. I woke up and she told me that the rebels had come.

Burning barricade
I went outside and saw many of our neighbours. They had set car tyres on fire because they knew it would stop them from being killed.

When the tyres are burning many people gather around so the rebels left them alone.

We had to sing or die

The rebels came and asked us to sing a special song, we knew we had to sing it otherwise we would be killed.

The next morning we heard shooting. It was the rebels.

I heard them asking my uncle for money. He told the rebels he didn't have any, so they killed him.

Stole food


My gran took us to her husband's house to live. We stayed there for three days. On the fourth night the rebels came to ask if someone could cook for them.

One asked my gran for money while he kicked her and they stole food from our fridge.

Crying baby

That night we left my grandfather's and went to an outside toilet to hide. There were many houses burning around us.

We were with another lady and a baby. The baby started to cry and the rebels were passing by. The baby's mother had to cover her mouth to stop her from making a noise.

The house next to us was burnt down by the rebels, but we were finally rescued by soldiers."

Sahid, 10, Living in England

Why don't you write us a Press Pack report - and get it published on the site?!

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