FREETOWN - Tears rolled down the face of double amputee Al Hadji Jusu Jarka as he welcomed a 50-year prison term for Liberias former leader Charles Taylor for backing the Sierra Leone rebels who mutilated him.
At last, justice has been done and Taylor has paid the price for the suffering and pain he caused us, said Jarka, who wears prosthetic arms after rebels in 1999 cut off both upper limbs while pinning him to a mango tree.
The curtain has now been drawn on Charles Taylor. I hope he will be haunted by his deeds as he languishes in jail.
Jarka who like many in the capital has followed the trial closely - said he would have liked to see some remorse from Taylor, convicted of aiding and abetting Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for blood diamonds.
People maimed in the war gathered in the Sierra Leonean capital on Wednesday to watch the proceedings of the Taylor trial via a live feed from The Hague, and rejoiced when judges in The Netherlands announced the 50-year sentence.
That makes me the happiest person on earth, said Alimami Kanu, whose right hand was hacked off by the RUF when he was 11 years old.
Siah Lebby, whose left leg was butchered by the rebels, said the tough sentence sends a strong signal. After they have seen, they have seen what happened, all the people who want to do bad things again will be afraid.
But even the toughest sentence cannot take away the deformities that people are now forced to live with, or their suffering. Over the weekend in the town of Makeni, three women whose arms were amputated by the rebels called for Taylor to be given no leniency. The town located 140 kilometres northeast of Freetown was once the base of the RUF rebel forces operating under Taylor.
He has done bad things to us, said 22-year-old amputee Sento Thoronka of Taylor, as she attempted to cut weeds this weekend using only her right arm. Her left arm was hacked off. There is nothing someone can say to me that will ever make me forget what he did, because when I look at myself I look odd. Ill never feel fine about that, she said.