Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mali conflict: We are terrified by gunshots and sight of dead bodies

Post by Hamidou*, a teenage boy living in Mopti

Today, I caught my brother crying again.

He usually does that when he thinks he is alone in a room. Mamadou is 6 years old and he does not like anyone to see him crying lest he be teased and be called a girl. But he can’t help it. He often cries because of the fighting and what he has seen.

A couple of days ago, we went shopping with my dad. On our way back home, as we were driving in front of the military barracks daddy shouted to us “look away now”. I immediately did but Mamadou didn’t. He looked up to see what was happening in the barracks and he has not stopped crying since.

He told me he saw people lying on the ground beside the wall of the barracks and there was blood everywhere. My dad later said the people were shot dead. My brother is really shaken and it makes me sad. I am worried about him. I have been trying to cheer him up but it does not work.

When I am at home, I often hear gunshots. This happens at any time of the day. Every time I hear gunfire I would rush to check on my little brother. I try to divert his attention with silly games.

It is not easy living like this. I wanted to leave, like my neighbors. All my friends from school have fled with their families. The teachers have left as well. School was so empty last week and the head teacher closed the school for a week. I envy those who have left. At least, they don’t have to put up with all this.

* Hamidou is a pseudonym for a teenage boy living in Mopti with his family. His name was changed to protect his identity. The area where he lives is close to where there is currently military action. 


Since children are often the most vulnerable in times of crisis, their safety, security, and welfare is a key priority for Plan. The focus of  our emergency response in Mali will be to ensure that children have food, shelter, access to proper sanitation, psychological support, and protection. 

You can help children like Hamidou when conflict and other emergencies arise.  Learn about our Disaster Recovery and Relief Fund

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