Letters: Re: Amputee soldier appeals for assistance to replace arm

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Dear Sir,

I am Colonel Salif Bojang, the Commanding Officer of Farafenni Barracks mentioned when WO2 Saidy Osman’s hand got amputated.

It is with compassion that I read the above article dated 19 July 2019 trying to appeal the readership of your esteemed paper to assist the mentioned soldier with prosthetic arm and while I sympathized with his condition, I want to straighten certain factual errors which are either deliberate or just erroneously misplaced.

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He claimed he was amputated after sustaining a serious injury as he was splitting firewood at the barracks.

This was misrepresentation of fact for 02 Saidy was weeding at his farm and blister formed on his hand as a result which got worsened leading to his hand to be amputated.

At his rank as Warrant Officer Class 2 and in his capacity as the chief Cook would not allow him to come down himself to split fire wood they are going to use to cook food for the soldiers. That did not just add up.

He further claimed that there was a Battalion change and the men who were with him at the time were all transferred to various companies in Kudang, Basse and other places and he was left with only female soldiers meaning that he had to take care of jobs done by men like splitting firewood.

It seems despite his long years of service as an NCO, O2 Saidy did not have full grasp of these routine administrative bits of the Armed Forces.

We don’t have Battalion changes in the Armed Forces and what we have is Battalion transfer and Company changes.

An example of Battalion transfer is when Soldiers from 1 Infantry Battalion are transferred to 2 Infantry Battalion and some Soldiers from 2 Infantry Battalion are also transferred to 1 Infantry Battalion simultaneously with their personal files following them to their new Units.

Company changes mean soldiers rotating from one company to another company but of the same Battalion while their files remain in their Battalion headquarters. Soldiers are not transferred to companies but rather rotated.

Even if his supposed claim which was concocted that he was left with female soldiers, if he knows his bits, he would have asked RSM to send him soldiers to split firewood for the cook house after all it is the same soldiers who went to collect those fire wood from the bush in the first place.

A right-thinking Commander will not send all the male cooks to the companies on away post and leave only female cooks at the Battalion headquarters.

Also, according to the soldier, his hand started to swell and then his ordeal began which took him to even marabouts for treatment.

Well at his age and supposed experience, O2 Saidy should have known that he needs to have taken permission to proceed on local treatment which he never sought for or got granted.

Saidy further disclosed that when he came back from treatment, he went to the barracks and showed his hand to then Commanding Officer Lt Colonel Salifu Bojang who immediately arranged a vehicle for him to be taken to the Farafenni hospital where his hand was operated on before being transferred to the EFSTH.

Here also the facts are overturned for; the WO2 is economic with the truth. The Commanding Officer cannot refer soldiers to any hospital or any next level of referral.

The soldiers port of call when they report sick is not to Commanding Officer’s Office but rather the MRS where they will be consulted by the Regimental Medical Officer (RMO) or Medics who will treat them.

If they need to be referred, it is the RMO or his medics who will refer him including arrangement of Ambulance or other vehicle if need arises and not the commanding officer. If there is a problem for the RMO to provide Ambulance or vehicle to facilitate the referral, it is the duty of RMO to come to the Commander and not the soldier (patient).

One afternoon while I was in my residence, my orderly informed me that O2 Saidy wanted to see me.

When I came out, I found him standing with his swollen hand in a sling.

He told me that he falls prey to sorcery and I asked whether he removed the substances from his hand and he replied in positive then I told him to report to the MRS.

This O2 Saidy never reported to MRS but rather went to his home and when the pain was too much for him, he went to Farafenni Hospital by himself where he got admitted.

The Medic informed me about his admission at Farafenni Hospital and that his hand will be operated on to remove the puss.

I paid him a visit there and later I was told by the medic that he was going to be referred to RVTH and when he was referred there, I was told by the same Medic that his hand was amputated.

The administrative action that could have been taken on him was overtaken by events of his situation. I will be pleased if he could be assisted with requested prosthetic arm but he must back his claims with facts.

Salif Bojang
Former CO Farafenni Barracks

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