Caroline – Story

Caroline Siah Kpou

Dear Sir:
Please permit me to give you my story as it happened to me both in Liberia and Guinea.

WHAT HAPPENED TO ME(Liberia)

Every Liberian has his/her own story as to what happened to them during the war in Liberia, but mind is of the greatest to me.

INTRODUCTION
Name: Caroline Siah Kpou
D.O.B: March 24, 1978
P.O.B: Foyah, Lofa County, Liberia
STATUS: Married, October 15, 1998
TRIBE: Kissi
EDUCATION BACKGROUND: High School Graduate/ pursuing Nursing

On the night of January 1990, while we were asleep, my sister and I in the room and mystep-father, baby Erica and mother in another room. I heard heavy shooting going on that came towards our house, I heard someone shouting with my father’s name, what followed was a big hit at the door and was burst opened. These armed men went directly to my parents’ room, burst their door open,and stripped them naked, dragging them outside. With this fear in the room, I opened the window and jumped through letting my younger sister also do the same. We hid behind some flowers and there i saw the rebels beating and torturing my parents. In the hidden, I could not bear seeing the pain they were going throough I started crying but very low. After series of torture, they dragged them into their pickup. Before leaving, one among ask for the children. They threatened to get rid of the children and set the house on fire. On hearing this, I started running with my sister. We joined a crowed that were running toward the boarder. It was at this time I got wounded by a bottle and started bleeding severly. I sat there crying and because the group was large,I did not see my sister again.

Please allow me explain to you what was behind the action of those that entered our house on this faithful day. According to my uncle, Ezekiel Swallie who told me the story, before the war, my step-father who was one of NDPL official and my mother on the other hand was member of the party and because of this involvement in Gov’t as NDPL strong supporter, it put our family life at risk. It was climax by one Steven Obey who was a driver for my father.

He was in a habit of constant sexual harassment to my mother which she did not like and always told my father about it. It went on until this day my father met him in the act. With this anger, he dismissed him and told him never to see his house. During this time, Obey’s wife who was pregnant, went to the hospital to give birth and didn’t make it due to some complications. This increase Obey’s grudge toward my father and promised to get even with him and his entire family. The war in 1990 give him this opportunity and this was how he led the rebels to our house, since he was one of the fighting forces for NPFL REBELS. On the road, I was later rescued by Gov’t Soldiers who came in on hearing the shooting, one of them saw me in pains and helped carried me towards the boarder. I then saw my mother’s friend, Ma Isatu who I cried on telling her that my parents were killed. With much sympathy, she promised to carry me along since she was also going towards the boarder. We walked until we got to a village near the boarder with Guinea. When we got to the village, I was in serious pains and took sick for some days and there we stayed for almost a year. We spent time there suffering with no food, medications and better housing and later decided to cross into Guinea. My uncle Ezekiel happen to meet us in the same village and now told us that the rebels took my parents and later set the house on fire. We lived in Camp no.4, Yekepa, Nimba County.

During this incident in the house, among the eight(8) members in the family, we were five present. The five are: my mother, step-father, Juliana, baby Erica and I.

IN GUINEA (1991-2000)

While in Conakry Guinea, the family had communication business which earned us daily meal since there was no job. In 2000, when rumors came about rebels entering in Guinea,the Guinean army entered our home and took away the communication set accusing us of being in communication with the rebels. They arrested all the boys in the house,and sent them to jail at the time I have gone to the market and upon my return home, fears gripped me and I immediately called my husband,Samuel B. Kpou who was at the time in America to send us money to come to Ghana. He sent the money and the kids and I left for Ghana and arrived in Ghana August 18,2000.

WHY I CAN’T GO BACK TO LIBERIA

As already stated above, I can not return to my home country Liberia, basically because of the below and I therefore appeal to all concerned to help and understand my reasons below.

1. I don’t know the where about my family especially my parents, which means I have no parents to go to.

2. Our home located in camp no. 4, in Yekepa, Nimba County was burnt down by the rebels as already stated above and the entire community(camp no. 4) had turned to bush according to business people that come through that county.

3. Those that were behind our unfortunate situations are still in the Country and particularly in Government posts and as such returning means HARM AND DEATH, since the Peacekeepers do not have control over that part the County/community.

WHY I CAN’T STAY IN GHANA

My five(5) years of stay in Ghana had brought lots of experince for both me and my children as stimulated below and as such I wish not to stay in Ghana any longer.

1. I can’t stay in Ghana because the living condition iis very hard especially for refugees, no job, no money,no food.

2. The health and sanitation problems are ofa serious issues, eg: no good water, the safe water is always sold to us at a high rate which at times we can not afford at the result, we drink any available water which keep us not very far from skin diseases etc, toilets, we used the bush as a toilets which is very dangerous for both me and the kids because you most time come in contact with snakes, wild animals and the land owners sometimes chase you from their land. At times when we are caught, we are carried to the local chief and charged to
pay certain fees. This also make life in Ghana for me and my children unbearable.

3. EDUCATION; The education system in Ghana is very costly for all refugees especially me and my children. For this reason, our many years in Ghana had not provided any achievement educationally, so I appeal to all to help me and my children secure our future by learning today in an environment suitable.

May God bless all those that will read this story.

Name: CAROLINE SIAH KPOU
Case number: GV. 107217
UNHCR number: 3811101

Kenneth D. Davis

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Last modified 18 Nov 2005