Saren Idaho said he has no connection to Sierra Leone and had never been to the country until he was deported there from the US six months ago. Both Saren Idaho and Prince Latonya were deported from the United States, served five months in prison and are currently detained in a hotel in Sierra Leone. Saren says he isn’t a citizen of Sierra Leone and completely recognizes no one from there. The 55-year-old narrates his mystery lamenting how his rights have been violated.
His health looked deteriorated for he couldn’t manage to walk steadily. The state of their room seemed quite deserted: sparsely furnished. This hotel is situated in the country’s capital, Freetown. Relating to his prison experience, he states that he preferred the room to the prison cells. Since during his stay in prison, he slept on the cold floor, with cockroaches, rats and bed bugs making his stay a living hell. Together with him was prince Latonya who was also deported and captured in Sierra. Both men only met after deportation though resided in the United States. However, they said originally, they were citizens of the Caribbean. Unlike as disputed by the US authorities to be from Sierra.
Their documents were forged hence deported
The two were flown out of the US together with 17 Sierra Leoneans acquainted with multiple crimes. This was around last year’s August. According to remarks by Isha, the director of Americas and Pacific at foreign ministry in Sierra, Saren and Idaho were deported unjustly. This is because the US authorities had pressurized the staff in the Sierra Leone embassy in Washington DC. The US immigration officials submitted ‘thought to be legit’ documents that Saren and Latonya were legally from sierra. As such the embassy official didn’t cross-check the documents and in turn issued the two Emergency Travel Documents. Hence that is how they ended in Sierra Leone.
Moreover, the Embassy staff said that they issued the Emergency Travel Documents, not because of negligence but the pressure from above. Both the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department forced them to accept the two as Sierra Leoneans. Saren remains assertive that the Americans forged documents to send them to Sierra Leone. He says he was not even born there.
“I am from Commonwealth of Dominica. What is so hard about returning to the US?” As such he condemns the Sierra Leone government for their gullibility.
Betrayal by Dominica
Following allegations to belong in Dominica, Saren and Latonya were rejected. The rejection preceded inquiries by the foreign ministry to the two Caribbean countries’ embassies in Washington. The latter denied the two having been born there. The Bahamian embassy said the available documents didn’t certify Latonya’s citizenship while the Dominican embassy claimed Saren’s wasn’t one of them.
Stuck in limbo
Meanwhile, the two are Sierra Leone detainees in a hotel in Freetown. Initially, they rented the hotel by themselves but soon ran out of cash. Nonetheless, they were not thrown out for an anonymous businessman is paying for their rent, food, and clothes. Consequently, they rarely took breakfast nor received medical care for they could only get meager amounts. Earlier, they also received extra money through western Union in sierra but since their travel documents expired, they are in no position to collect the sent money. Furthermore, they don’t even possess ID documents since they lost them. For Idaho, his documents were lost when his house was seized by the bank for failure to complete his house mortgage. Hence all his birth certificates and documents remained in there.
Waiting for travel documents
Since the government of Sierra Leone thinks the two don’t belong there, it wanted to fly them to the Caribbean. However, since there are no official requests or travel documents, it chooses to wait. The IOS promises to help them with tickets so that they reach their countries of origin. Though as per now the two men live in rejection from their homelands.