A Brave Brother Now Missing
I was moved today by a photo of a terrified girl crawling on her hands and knees – a 10-year-old African girl named Hamamatou Harouna fleeing from gunfire, but unable to walk, because she has polio.
I was further affected when I read that, after her mother grabbed her three younger children and ran for her life, Hamamatou’s older brother came to her rescue.
Souleymane hoisted his sister on his back and they set off into the dense forest.
He later left her, saying he was going for help. If he didn’t come back, he told the frightened girl, she should make as much noise as she could and someone would find her.
Conflict between Christians and Muslims in the Central African Republic, where these children live, has killed thousands of people over the past year.
Souleymane never came back, but Hamamatou, a Muslim girl, was eventually found, on the 10th day. Ironically, it was a Christian fighter and his wife who saved her, taking her to their home and serving her broth. Hamamatou is now being cared for at a church compound with more than 800 other trapped Muslims.
“If you find my brother”, she has said, “tell him I am stuck here with no way to leave. I am waiting.”
UNICEF reports that nearly half a million children have been displaced by violence, with many hiding out in forests.
Pity the poor children in this conflict, and so many others like it. This story of sibling love is so poignant, but what has become of brave Souleymane? How blessed we are to live in a country where our children can dream and be free, not live in fear and terror.