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"Every day I wait for him to come back…"

02-08-2006 Feature

August 2 2006 marks three years since the abduction of Usman Saidaliev, an employee of the ICRC's office in Grozny. Neither his relatives nor colleagues have had any news about his whereabouts since masked men burst into the house and led Usman out without explanation. Zumrud Magomedova met Usman's daughter Amnat and his wife Luiza in Grozny.

Amnat and Luiza still believe that he will come back and keep waiting for him. Luiza says that she never allows herself to think that he may not return.

" I heard that people who had disappeared come back after three years and even more, " she says.

" Every morning since the day of his abduction, I stand by the gates, waiting for him to return. I expect news any minute, I look at people and it seems to me that they have something to tell me… "

Luiza smiles while talking about Usman, thinking back about their first encounter. The very first moment she saw him, she realized he was a very good person.

Usman started to work for the ICRC's assistance department in 2001. His colleagues remember him as a kind and reliable person, always ready to help.

A few days ago I was asked to carry out a monitoring visit in the framework of the Russian Red Cross programme assisting elderly and disabled people.

I met an elderly Russian " babushka " whose hearing was bad and who had requested a new hearing-aid. She recalled that several years before the person receiving beneficiaries in the ICRC office had given her a hearing-aid that had previously belonged to his mother. She had been using it until recently. She remembered his name - Usman.

" Where is he now? How can I see him? I would like to say thank you to him. He was so kind " , she kept repeating. And I thought: " If only we knew where he was… "

Numerous representations made by the ICRC to the authorities to clarify Usman's f ate brought no results until now. Nevertheless, neither his colleagues nor his relatives have lost hope and continue to wait for his return.

" We carry on somehow without him – says Luiza. But we need him so much... People and relatives are always ready to help. When I'm with other people I feel better. It's more difficult in the evening when I'm alone " .

Luiza and her daughter live by themselves in the house now: Usman's mother passed away a year and a half after his disappearance. There was another tragedy in the family which Usman did not know about – Usman's twin brother suffered a fatal heart attack a few days after their mother passed away.

" Our daughter can recognize him in the photos, - says Luiza. She asks why he does not come back… "

Amnat is a smiling four year old girl, who likes her dolls and enjoys running after butterflies. July 16 is her birthday. There is nothing in the world she wants more than the return of her father, whom she has not seen for such a long time. He will smile at her and lift her up, and she will be laughing happily… She has already seen it in her dreams…

Read also the press release