Sierra Leone’s Journalists accuse APC of violence

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 April 2018:

Yesterday there were reports of police shooting in the far west of the capital Freetown, in which an unarmed, young opposition SLPP supporter was gunned down in the street – just yards away from the compound of the SLPP leader’s home.

It is alleged that the police officer fired the shot from the premises of a ruling APC party government minister – Alieu Pat-Sowe, in what has been described as a politically motivated shoot to kill policy.

But ruling APC party media handlers are this morning denying the shooting. They say that the young man was stabbed.

A local resident told the Sierra Leone Telegraph that more than 200 armed soldiers and the head of the military arrived at the scene after the shooting.

“Our street is very tense right now. About ten trucks carrying police officers have arrived at the scene. International observers are now here as well. Military police officers are patrolling our drive.”

The minister who is believed to have been at his residence where the shot is reported to have come from – Alieu Pat-Sowe, is believed to have left his house immediately after the shooting.

As tension mounted yesterday amidst call for a quick conclusion of counting of the presidential election runoff results by NEC, the opposition SLPP published this statement about the shooting:

“A supporter of the SLPP Presidential Candidate, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio named Abubakarr Brimah has been shot this morning by armed OSD officer close to the residence of the SLPP Presidential Candidate.

“Abubakarr Brimah visited the residence of Brigadier Julius Maada Bio this morning when he left to buy bread and luncheon meat as was feeling hungry. On his way to buy the bread and luncheon meat, Abubakarr Brimah was wearing a green wristband with the inscription SLPP and he also had green handkerchief.

“Abubakarr was then identified as a Maada Bio supporter by an armed OSD stationed at the residence of the APC former Minister of Trade and Industry, Momodu Allieu Pat-Sowe. The armed OSD then attacked Abubakarr Brimah and shot him.  Attached to this incident report are pictures of Abubakarr Brimah after he has been shot bleeding on the floor.”

Serious questions are now being raised about the rise in political violence in the country, as the nation awaits the announcement of the election runoff result later today.

Yesterday the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists accused the ruling APC of violence against journalists by the party, in a letter sent to the APC Secretary General – Alhaji Ambassador Osman Yansaneh. This is what the letter says:

“We write to vehemently complain of physical assault on three of our journalists by members of the APC on polling day 31st March 2018 during the Presidential Run-off Elections.

“We have received formal complaints from our affected members and have corroborated eye witness reports in relation to such.

“Patrick Jaiah Kamara of Concord Times newspaper was attacked by men dressed in black; seemingly acting under the orders of APC members Messrs Sanusi Bruski and former Mayor of Freetown City Council Herbert George Williams. The attackers tore Patrick’s clothes and damaged his camera. He sustained bruises on his chest, and currently has a swollen temple and cheek and lost his digital recorder and money.

“Patrick was in the company of his Editor (Eye witness) and the attack happened in the full view of military and police officers. Patrick’s only crime was using his camera to take photos of an incident around the Mafa field in Lumley.

“The matter has been reported to the Lumley Police Station while Patrick is now responding to treatment.

“Another journalist -Ibrahim Samura of New Age newspaper, was beaten with chains by another group allegedly led by APC operatives – deputy Minister of Trade – Ibrahim Washingai Mansaray, Abubakarr Daramy, Sanusi Bruski, Alusine Denkeh and one Dankay Koroma, again in the presence and full view of Police personnel less than 50 metres from the Lumley Police Station.

“Ibrahim’s crime was also using his camera to take photos of an incident happening at the Lumley roundabout. The attackers disembarked from a State vehicle to carry out their mischief.
The matter has also been reported to the Lumley Police Station while Ibrahim is responding to treatment.

“We have also received reports of intimidation of journalists in some polling stations in the North, especially in Kambia District.

“These journalists were merely carrying out their duties to monitor and report on the elections and we cannot over-emphasize the importance of their role in ensuring a credible, fair and transparent elections.

“While we are urging the Sierra Leone Police to speedily conclude their investigations and bring the culprits to book, we equally urge you to seriously look into this matter and take appropriate action as a respected and disciplined political party.

“Please note that we put absolute premium on the safety and security of our membership.

“Thank you very much for your usual co-operation.

Yours Sincerely,

Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, National Secretary General”

Cc:
Reporters Without Borders
Committee for the Protection of Journalists iii) International Federation of Journalists
Media Foundation for West Africa
US Embassy Sierra Leone
British High Commission Sierra Leone
Irish Embassy Sierra Leone
vii EU Election Observer Mission
ECOWAS Observer Mission
AU Observer Mission
Commonwealth Observer mission
Independent Media Commission
Media Reform Coordinating Group
The Human Rights Commission SL.
The Inspector General of Police
The Chief of Defence Staff
The PPRC

4 Comments

  1. This is not supposed to be happening in Sierra Leone. But everybody knows the APC whenever they hold power, they think it is forever. APC has long been known to resort to violence when they have the chance. How can Sierra Leoneans live under such a regime which has no feeling for other people but themselves. Everybody agrees with me that Sierra Leone does not need another war connected to tribalism or something else.

    I am kindly asking the APC party to refrain from violence and accept the polls as it had happened. We want our people to live in peace and get on with their affairs. “ONE COUNTRY ONE PEOPLE”. SIERRA LEONE MUST LIVE WITH THAT SAYING. WE ALL ARE BROTHERS AND SISTERS.

    I regret the looss of our brother. May his soul rest in perfect perpetual peace.

  2. Responsibility for this crime rests with no one other than our current President Ernest Bai Koroma. His thirst for power at all cost is leading this country into chaos and anarchy. The military and police are all under the brown envelope mentality. They are suppressing the citizens they are supposed to be protecting.

    All those responsible for these atrocities must be brought to justice. But rather unfortunately, this will only happen if there is a change of government. May the Souls of those we’ve lost through this senseless violence Rest in Peace.

  3. I’m going to be brutally honest here. Sierra Leone is in a mess and has been since independence. When the war was declared over, I told a friend that it was merely an interval until the next civil war erupted. Let’s face it, the cause of the war is still with us and is spreading like a cancer with now hope of a cure. Perhaps it can be suppressed but it cannot be eradicated.

    The TRC recommendations have been completely ignored and for the vast majority in authority, it’s business as usual. It’s just like a circus with more and more clowns joining in the acts and losing more and more credibility in every aspect of service to the people.

    Remember, these people are supposed to be our servants, not the other way round and I feel a massive re-education of the entire government is in order, starting from the very basics. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so tragic but I feel embarrassed to be called Sierra Leonean and it seems like the brutality and barbarism are only seconds away from any situation.

    We complain about how the West portrays our country and by extension, our continent and yet, we are unable to take a good look at ourselves to realise that the problem is with us, nobody else. Such a tragedy that may require several generations to make any headway.

    No doubt this comment might not be published so go ahead and continue burying your heads in the sand like the infamous ostrich. Divine intervention is probably the only hope for the country and its people.

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