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FREETOWN SIERRA LEONE s CAPITAL
In Freetown during the height of the civil war, we conducted business in the war torn country.
Described here are actual events.
Arrival in Lunghi Airport, Freetown
https://AfricAsiaEuro.com – We touch down at Lunghi International Lunghi Airport 5.00 PM late afternoon. Our contact is present, and we are whisked through Immigration, Customs at exceptional speed, considering the location we are.
A Chauffeur, with his car awaiting us in the parking lot and we take off to cross the lagoon that separates Lunghi International to Freetown. Freetown; Once we arrive at the Hovercraft Ferry Hovercraft docked at the port, we take seats in the reserved space.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF MISERY
So this moment I catch the striking image of the young kids sitting on the craft’s deck sideways from the main cabin. I hadn’t noticed them when we entered the Hovercraft you feel the sadness, the endless misery, the emptiness in their faces, the pain that those kids had gone through, for they are victims of Fodeh Sankoh’s Rebel Militias.
A senseless, barbaric horde of brutal criminals, enjoying the pains inflicted on the little kids, maiming and injuring them for life. I recall the looks in those eyes as if occurring today. An everlasting impression one cannot forget, for those kids were without arms or wrists.
FODEH SANKOH – SIERRA LEONES POLPOT
Fodeh Sankoh, a Rebel leader who never admitted to his crimes, his Guerrilla fighters would ask his captives the gruesome question: ‘Short sleeve or long sleeve …’. Any comment would be superfluous to describe the agony suffered by those who fell into the hands of their captors.
After the Ferry ride, we continue to Freetown where another car waits to take us to our Hotel, the Cape Sierra Hotel, the only decent place run by an Italian businessman, Paolo. During the war the Hotel became a command post for the Rebels, then for the troops of the O.A.U., the C.I.A., the U.N. All were crammed in this Hotel.
Upon arrival at Cape Sierra Hotel, the Italian owner, who arranged our contact in Sierra Leone, welcomes us. We are here to negotiate a business deal with an International Company to sell our Packaging Products.
The room is what one would call ‘a room with a view,’ overlooking the Emerald sea, about hundred meters below us. Magnificent to see the waves breaking below your window.
FRENCH AND EX-LEGIONNAIRE
After dinner at the Continental Restaurant, we meet other guests, among them one who works for the U.N.H.C.R. U.N.H.C.R. We get to know the Soldiers of Fortune who are present, ex-French Legionnaires who now do covert operations for the C.I.A.
One guy, in particular, arises my interest, a Helicopter pilot and French Legionnaire, and his actions show he seems a real crazy guy. French, in his mid-forties, you can see that he is different from the others.
DISPLAY OF BRAVERY
He appears with a Jute sack in his hand and removes the thread that is tight around its neck. The bar dames are all too curious and come all to see the what’s in the sack.
Reaching into the sack, he withdraws his hand out fast, giving the impression something bit him. The girls scream, scramble in all directions.
He repeats the whole show a few times, much to the amusement of all present. The spectacle ends when he empties the sack, and nothing appears from within.
They smack him on the back for scaring them. We retire late that evening and sleep with the waves beneath us battering the shore.
GOOD MORNING WITH A STUNNING SHOW OF MADNESS
NEXT MORNING 0600
I wake up by a strange noise, originating over the sea. It is dawn, before 06.00 AM, and I hear a distinct whining sound approaching the Hotel, very rapidly.
I am up at once, a remnant from Army training, rush to the window just in time to see a Bell Military Chopper approaching low over the branding sea at full speed, towards the Hotel, and as fast as it approaches, hovering
upright in front of my room, hardly 100 yards in distance.
Hovering sideways like a swing in a Fun park, the Chopper lies almost idle in the air after its fast upswing and then drops back to near sea levels in free fall, only to later disappear in the fog.
The howling of the Turbines still in my ears, I see the face of the Pilot and recognize the daredevil I saw the previous night at the bar. A stunning display of Piloting skills. Dangerous but done with a precision that leaves no room for error.
When I walk down for breakfast, other guests tell me this is his way of waking up the other guests lodging at the Hotel.
COPYRIGHT: HEINZ RAINER
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