Letter: African tragedy

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The Independent Culture
Sir: It is very sad indeed that it takes the kidnap of five British soldiers in Sierra Leone to start bringing greater public attention to the vast human suffering in that country. How different it might be if the horrors of the last eight months, and indeed several years, had taken place in an area of strategic interest. The politicians might then mount a "humanitarian intervention".

Incidentally, it is not actually correct to say that the excellent agency Action Contre La Faim was "the first aid agency last month to travel deep into the interior" ("Aid agencies pull out of Sierra Leone", 9 August). Hope and Homes for Children has been supporting 80 orphaned or abandoned children and their surrounding community of more than 1,000 people in the northern region throughout the recent conflict.

There are other, lower-key ways of delivering aid which do not create attention.

JAMES WHITING

Director, Hope and Homes for Children

Salisbury, Wiltshire

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