Bullet may remain in girl's brain for life

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A five-year-old African girlflown into Britain yesterday for treatment after being injured during a civil war may be left with a bullet lodged in her brain for the rest of her life, doctors said.

Teneh Cole is thought to have been hit by a stray bullet about 16 months ago, shortly after her parents were killed when rebels attacked their village in Sierra Leone.

A British couple who run the Hope and Homes for Children charity in Sierra Leone arranged for her to be flown to Britain.

Teneh is now awaiting assessment at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital in Norwich. She is thought to be almost deaf and partly blind as a result of her injury.

Geoffrey Cheney, a facial surgeon at the hospital, warned that doctors might not be able to remove the bullet lying behind her left eye, but added that people can live quite normally with debris lodged inside their heads. But he also said there was a possibility the bullet could move as she grows up.

"We have got to make sure she is followed up ... when she is back in Sierra Leone," he said.