Political violence in Sierra Leone? – one man dead

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 May 2016

KONO violence report

Police in Sierra Leone are investigating the gruesome death of a young man in the south-eastern city of Kenema, which took place yesterday. (Photo: President Koroma receiving political violence investigation report a few years ago from the head of the country’s police).

There are allegations that the dead man was a supporter of the former chairman of the opposition SLPP – John Oponjo Benjamin, who is also believed to be interested in competing for the 2018 presidential candidacy of the SLPP.

A supporter of the SLPP presidential candidate for the 2012 elections in Sierra Leone – retired brigadier Julius Maada Bio is suspected of stabbing the young man to death with a knife.

Maada Bio is also one of the nine contenders of the 2018 SLPP presidential candidacy.

AIG-Alfred-Karrow-KamaraAccording to  report by Umaru Fofana in Freetown, the chief of police in eastern Sierra Leone – AIG Karrow-Kamara, said that the death is related to an intra-party political dispute among members and supporters of the opposition SLPP in Kenema.

AIG Karrow-Kamara (Photo) said that the alleged assailant is a supporter of retired brigadier Julius Maada Bio, and the victim was supporting John Oponjo Benjamin.

An emergency response expert, commenting on the photo of the stab wound released by the police, said: “The victim was stabbed so badly and deeply on the back that his intestines came out through his back. This was a massive and probably jagged knife made with the intention to kill.” (The photo is too gruesome for the Telegraph to publish).  

Unconfirmed report says that the retired brigadier Julius Maada Bio is distancing himself from the murder and is calling for a police investigation into who murdered the young man and the circumstances of his death.

Maada Bio - Brigadier2It is understood that Julius Maada Bio was on the eastern radio in Kenema where he ‘condemned all forms of violence and intimidation, urging the police to investigate and prosecute anyone found wanting of perpetrating violence irrespective of camp or political affiliation.’ (Photo: Retired Brigadier Maada Bio).

In a separate and unconnected development, the Alie Kabba presidential aspiration declaration event is going ahead as planned in Kenema.

According to the Alie Kabba team, the event started at 10am this morning at the Kenema City Hall, Reservation Road, off Hanga Road – a few yards from the city’s police barracks.

Alie Kabba 1

The editor of the Sierra Leone Telegraph this morning contacted Mr. Alie Kabba, following the breaking news about the tragic death. He informed the editor that he was safe and well, and looking forward to the declaration event.

Mr. Kabba (Photo) was asked about the tragic death of the young man. He said he was saddened to learn of the death of such a young man.

And he urged the police to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of his death and bring those responsible to account. Kabba expressed his deep condolence to the family of the dead young man.

“I don’t have details about what happened at the moment. I will get back to you after meeting with district party executives this morning,” said Kabba, a strong and much respected contender for the presidency of Sierra Leone in 2018.

This is the latest from the Alie Kabba event:

Alie Badara Sanjan Kabba is on Star Line Radio now, addressing Sierra Leoneans, and specifically the people of the Eastern Region.

He is painstakingly laying out details of  his positive plans for the country, after strongly condemning the  unfortunate incident that led to the murder of a young SLPP member in Kenema, yesterday.

Alie also extended his condolences to the family and friends of the young man who was murdered “in the name of the vilest form of politics.”

It should be pointed out that the Alie Kabba Campaign had organised and planned to unveil a big campaign event in Kenema today during which Alie Kabba was poised to make a public declaration of his bid for the Flag of the SLPP and Presidency of Sierra Leone.

Crowds had started converging on the town since Tuesday this week when the well organised program was kicked off with a football tournament played  in honour of Alie Kabba.

The tournament was won by the “Ex Kamboi Eagles Professionals” in the final that was played in the Police Barracks ground yesterday evening.

The declaration, which was to be held today, was to have been the highlights of the week-long occasion.

This was scheduled to have been followed up by grand “Campaign Launching Programs” in the other Eastern District headquarter towns of Kailahun and Kono, before moving on to the South and then the North, and ending up  in the Western Area.

But  now it appears that some rogue elements in the SLPP have gifted the APC the perfect “excuse” to scupper our program and try to stifle our voice.

However, Alie Kabba is fighting on, as best as he could. Right now the Star Line Radio has linked up with  Eastern Radio, Gola Radio and all the satellite radio outlets in the Eastern Region to give people the chance to listen to what Alie has to say about his campaign and the direction of the country.

Meanwhile, Karrow Kamara, the police boss in the Eastern Province has put all political gatherings on hold following the alleged incident which took place in the township yesterday.

According to reports making the rounds, a well known supporter of one of the intending SLPP aspirants, a certain Mr. Mohamed Fonnie, stabbed and killed a member of “a rival” support group.

The majority peaceful SLPP members are greatly appalled that this hideous factional infighting is so savagely pulling us apart, and smearing everyone else in the party with the “violent and lawless” imagery that is traditionally rightfully associated with a RED (blood-dripping) APC party.

But we the Peaceful Party Members will loyally sludge this out and soberly stride on to victory. For as Alie Kabba has constantly  pointed out, “democratic competition should not be about stones and knives, but brain  and vision, as well as ultimate sincerity and dedication to the causes that matter to the 99%”

We believe that unfortunate incidents like this murder also have the unintended consequence of increasing awareness away from the sad mindset that is wont to flaunt the obnoxious notion that  “only might is right”. For it is not.

11 Comments

  1. Bio’s unscrupulous image as a violent and intolerant man is slowly being transferred to the party. I laugh at his quick response in denouncing his friend – Fonnie, when many of his supporters have in the past brutally attacked and abused even senior SLPP members.

    Had JOB been the victim of this horrific death, South-East would have been thrown in political turmoil as thousands of Benjamin’s supporters in Kailahun, Bo and Kenema would have gone on a rampage.

    ‘Mr. Brigadier-General’ is causing little waves of turmoil in the ocean of peace in Sierra Leone. Failure to stop him from further radicalizing the youth can turn those waves into violent storms. I implore the government of Sierra Leone to notify the International Criminal court, Ecowas court and African Union on recent events.

  2. Politics in Sierra Leone has lost it meaning. People have concerns over leadership as though they can be better choices.

    The murder in Kenema should not be selfishly blamed on Bio or Benjamin, but on all actors in the political dispensation of the SLPP. Critics do not say good things; they were around when people decided not to be registered in the concluded census, fighting over Bio or Yunkella’s right to leadership.

    They are now concerned with suspension, not mindful of the alleged murder as a recipe to a wide range of inter and intra-party violence across the country. Let the critics organize psycho-social counseling sessions for their membership to save our beloved nation.

  3. Alusine Fallay,

    Just some quick corrections as follows:

    1. That Julius Bio did not go to the UK to study. But instead, he went to the USA. And he is a graduate of
    American University (AU) in Washington, DC with a Masters Degree in International Affairs.

    2. That Mali, under the leadership of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, did experience the Ebola outbreak in
    October 2014.

    3. That President Ernest Koroma did not allow the Ebola disease to spread, but the Devil aka Satan. Amen.

  4. I am forced to start by saying that I totally agree with Abdul Thomas’ response to Mohamed Sannoh. The platform provided by The Telegraph for the free expression of views should not be hijacked and replaced with a lack of civility.

    Other media – including Cocorioko – do not allow any expression of opposing views, because of the tendency of certain people to misuse and abuse the privilege. I see the the Telegraph as a conduit to vent one’s anger and frustration with the political scene in Sierra Leone.

    Now to the subject matter of my piece. Here we go again. Maada Bio is being blamed for everything that is going wrong with S.L.P. P. The poor fellow, who is a virtual new comer to the party, is constantly being denigrated and trampled on for the manifestation of a disease which has been gathering pace since Sir Milton Passed in 1964.

    Was Maada even alive then? S. L . P .P. are quite simply unbelievably slow political learners. Empirical evidence teaches them nothing. When will the Party learn the simple lesson that a divided team wins nothing ? Every time the Party is in turmoil A. P. C. make a little holiday in their hearts, and keep praying hard that things will continue like that until the forthcoming elections.

    The unconscionable deadly stabbing that occurred is purely a criminal matter, and should be handled as such. The investigation should rope in the perpetrator as well all possible accomplices. All guilty parties should be severely punished by the law to send a message to future potential murderers.

    I know that President Koroma is very weak on crime, which is why Sierra Leone is fast becoming one of the murder capitals of the world. His police chief Francis Munu, is more suited for catching overfed rats at Krootown Road Market than wearing a police uniform.

    A few months ago, a girl was murdered at Lumley beach and the murderers are still at large. Wherever one turns these days in Sierra Leone, somebody has been murdered.

    The attorney-general Joseph Kamara, does not have the wherewithal to advise the President to toughen the laws. Well, what should we expect? He was a failure at the A.C.C. after all.

    The two main political parties in Sierra Leone – S.L.P. P and A.P.C. have been a recurring nightmare. May the Almighty Allah/God save us.

  5. Is the “Global Times News online” published by Sorie Fofanah in Sierra Leone out of circulation? I am asking this question, because I have not seen any of its coverage of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party’s recent murder incident in Kenema.

  6. It’s about time for Maada Bio to step aside and allow peace to reign within the SLPP which is supposed to be an opposition to the corrupt APC party.

    Instead of spending all his precious time and resources fighting more credible and qualified candidates, he should focus his time and energy building his integrity and credibility with himself, because his biggest enemy is himself. How can you be a leader without any purpose?

    Maada Bio claims to have left Sierra Leone to further his education in the UK. But when he arrived in Freetown he proved to the whole world that he lacks Intelligence or common sense, which is a powerful requirement in politics, when he chose to visit the President who is heading one of the most corrupt political institutions in the world – APC, and gave him a serious and thorough sycophantic hug.

    The nation was expecting Maada Bio to have instead held the President accountable for the lives of over 4000 people who succumbed to the deadly Ebola disease, caused by neglect because the President was warned about the Ebola when it first started in Guinea and later Liberia.

    Koroma did nothing to prevent and protect his people as compared to President Yayah Jammeh, President Alassane Ouattara, President Ibrahim Keita, Jose, President Mario Vaz of Guinea Bissau. And most of these countries also share border with Guinea, but their Presidents were proactive.

    President Koroma also took his irresponsible attitude to a different level, when he allowed the disease to spread from the East (kailahun), South, West and even the North where he comes from. This proves that he is incapable of taking care of even his own people. He also encouraged his close associates to steal most of the Ebola funds with impunity.

    My advice to all the SLPP aspirants is to always hold the APC government accountable for all the bad judgments and neglect they have shown towards the nation, and never to follow the path of Maada Bio (A SORE LOSER).

    The aspirants should Just focus on exposing and opposing the bad policies of the Corrupt APC part,y instead of fighting and killing one another.

  7. This action of a Maada Bio supporter buttress the saying that ‘Power belonging to a wrong hand is dangerous’. If Julius Maada Bio is a really law abiding citizen and respecter of the SLPP constitution, he should not have even be contesting another flagbearership of the SLPP, of which he is the current opposition leader as Solomon Berewah did after the 2007 presidential election.

    Julius Maada Bio is a mean, covetous, power-hungry, very wicked and dangerous man, who wants to use violence and threats to achieve his political ambitions as President of Sierra Leone

    Bio wants to continuously “Eat his cake and have it’, since the 1992 NPRC coup that brought him in the executive functions of governance. Indeed Valentine Strasser made a big mistake to continue his thirst for the executive leadership of government by eliminating his fellow coup comrades. But by the help of God and through the leaking of the secret deeds of Strasser by his former body guard to Bio and others in the NPRC ruling council, Strasser was eliminated and Bio for the next four was Head of State.

    BIO YOU HAVE SINCE PROSPERED UNDER THE SLPP GOVERNMENT YOU HAND OVER POWER TO, AND STILL WANT TO GET INTO THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH, BECAUSE YOU KNOW THE AUTHORITY IT HOLDS. BUT GOD IS THE POWER GIVER AND YOUR TIME HAS PAST. PLEASE GIVE OTHERS CHANCE TO SAVE OUR ECONOMY FROM COLLAPSE.

  8. “Because they are making the game so fearful and frightened for future admirers to venture into political leadership of our country”. Is this what you actually intended to say Mohamed Sannoh?

    I wonder what Bio would make from such statements, coming from one of his die-hards. For only when there is chaos and mayhem would a person like Bio survive in politics. I hope you do not intend to wreck his life indefinitely, as the longest serving FLAGBEARER of our time. SHAME ON YOU!!

  9. It is just rather unfortunate that the unspeakable lies and blatant lies coming out from this newspaper, The Sierra Leone Telegraph is not of civilized nature, especially when certain allegations about presidential candidates are targeted between each other.

    I don’t believe that this is the type of politics we expect from our contenders because they are making the game so fearful and frightened for future admirers to venture into political leadership of our country. Where there are potential politicians, it means that their greediness have hijacked our future from us and how do they expect us to live when they die?

    John Oponjo Benjamin must realise that Sierra Leone has given him many leadership opportunities but it appears that he is still not yet satisfied and he is now embarking on telling unthinkable lies on other contenders, such as Julius Maada Bio to step down upon him to spring up the political ladder. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable and has no space to occupy our political agenda in this country.

    • Mohamed Sannoh – please note that whiles you have been granted the privilege to express your views and opinions here, you are not at liberty to throw insults or cause rancour. If you do not like what you read here, you can go elsewhere.

      The Sierra Leone Telegraph strongly believes in promoting freedom of speech. Unlike those who instead are killing others with whom they disagree, we have given you the privilege of expressing your views. Do not abuse this privilege. Use it wisely. Persistent abuse will not be tolerated.

  10. In a civilised community, and in similar circumstances, the party leadership will immediately suspend the membership status of Julius Bio and John Benjamin; and ban them from participating in any party event until a full investigation had been conducted by police, supervised by the justice department.

    These two men are prima facie witnesses in a murder case, since the perpetrator and the victim were under or within their relative jurisdictions as their key supporters. If left outside the circle of guilty by association, they may use their influence to distort the outcome of the police investigation.

    The SLPP has an obligation to act decisively in the matter to set a high standard of managing criminal behavior instead of condoning it among its members.

    Jurisprudence demands this.

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