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Mine victims in Iraq: Peshawa's story

24-09-2007 Feature

Peshawa knew mines were dangerous, and refused to take home the curious object his friend wanted to give him. But he made the mistake of throwing it to the ground… Now, with one leg amputated, he works as a tailor near his home in Kirkuk.

   

  ©ICRC / iq-e-00614    
 
At the ICRC's orthopaedic centre in Erbil    
    It was ten o'clock one April morning in 2003. I was alone in our father's shop with my younger brother, as my father had gone to another place to do some work, when we heard a lot of gunshots. We were afraid and we heard people shouting against Saddam.
 
We closed the shop and went home by foot, crossing a nearby cemetery. There was heavy shelling and loud explosions; while we were trying to r each our house we saw our father in a car looking for us. He was very glad that that he found us, as there was fighting going on near our house.
 
When we reached home we saw that my other brother was not there so I went with one of my friends to look for him. The street was full of people taking things from one of the army camps near our neighbourhood.
 
We were afraid to enter the camp as we knew that it contained explosives; also, we heard that there would be a counter-attack by Iraqi tanks so we went back home as we could not find my brother.
 
About a kilometre from there, my friend picked up a yellow object from the ground and said " This is a nice strange thing, why don't you take it home? " I was suspicious because it contained springs and black screws.
 
I had heard about mines so I said to him, it is dangerous – and here I made a big mistake, as I threw it on the ground and then there was a huge explosion. We were blown away down the street; I saw my leg was bleeding and torn, and my friend also was injured.
 
A taxi driver came and took us to the hospital in Kirkuk and there they operated on me.
 
Now I am 20 years old, I quit the school in the intermediate stage and I work as tailor, sewing curtains in our shop in the Ahmad Aga neighbourhood in Kirkuk.