David Simpson in CAR

In March, we launched our latest campaign for all the world to see. In the Communications Department we refer to that week as “that time the world exploded.”

For one man from Great Britain, that phrase is a pretty accurate description of his experiences in the month of March. David Simpson, a 24-year-old pilot was going about his business as the manager of a safari company in the Central African Republic (CAR) when some of his guides called him out into the bush. They had found something. In fact, they stumbled upon the bodies of thirteen people that appeared to have been bound, tortured, and killed by the LRA.

In an interview with The Guardian, Simpson recalls the incident.

“Two of our employees had found the bodies and I got a call from my boss saying get down there. It was down by a river, where men from the nearest town, Bakouma, come to mine gold. It’s illegal, and we’d been down there the month before, to tell them to leave. This time, as we approached, we saw six bodies. They were tied together in a circle, face down, and had been beaten to death with sticks. Some of them were naked or partially naked. It was so brutal. A couple of them, their faces were completely smashed up. Then methodically every one of them had a machete cut in the back of the head.

He called the authorities and the next day returned with the military and uncovered another seven bodies. “That was a lot worse. Some of them had been tortured before they’d died. They’d had boiling water poured over them. It was pretty bad. And the first day there was no smell but the next day, the smell … it was in a valley and the military guys were throwing up.”

Then, out of nowhere, David, his boss, and 11 other coworkers were arrested in Bangui, the capitol of CAR. On what grounds? The murder of those 13 civilians that his coworkers stumbled upon. It sounds ridiculous, right? Apparently, a person who was in the area panicked when David and his coworkers discovered the bodies decided to start telling people that it was in fact David and the safari company employees that killed those men.

“They thought we’d done witchcraft. There was an official claim in the newspapers that I gave them food with magic powder in it, and then I beat them to death with a stick.”

Anyone else who saw the situation firsthand, however, believes that this attack was committed by the LRA.

“We took one of our trackers and he found footprints, wellington boot prints, which are standard LRA wear. And it just has all the classic hallmarks of one of their attacks. The way they take clothing. And use sticks to beat them. And we’ve had other attacks in the area in the past year.”

So what happens to David now? He has been in jail for the past six months and is worried that those months could turn into years. His member of parliament initially wasn’t too keen on helping him out, but has since stepped up her efforts to see him freed. Simpson is remaining optimistic, and thinks that he could have ended up in a much worse position. In fact, he mentions the sudden popularity of Kony 2012 in March as a key element in making his case known.

“I think my story has only really been in the paper because of [KONY 2012]. If it hadn’t been for that, would anyone have been interested in me? I think if I was just some guy who found some bodies … well, it makes it a little bit more of a story, doesn’t it?”

Our most sincere desire is to see the truth revealed and the culprits for this massacre brought to jusice. We hope that this incident leads to more world leaders taking the time to speak up for the rights of individuals and showing that every life matters, no matter who they are or where they are from.


(Photo credit: The Guardian)