From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Awareness Times News Briefs in Sierra Leone
By James Bishop Kamara
Jun 5, 2007, 20:49

Fire Force officers arrested for alleged murder

Reports revealed that five fire fighters of the National Fire Force are in police custody for the death of Mr. Tony Ojeah, distribution engineer of the Guma Valley Water Company. A fracas ensued between Mr. Tony Ojeah and the fire fighter when the former told the latter not to destroy the hydrant at Kingharman Road. The officers allegedly beat the Guma Valley worker, which eventually led to his death. Personnel of the National Fire Force are known for their notoriety for vandalizing hydrants in the city. They are also accused of selling water. The government has vowed to bring to book all those that took part in the death of the distribution engineer of the Guma Water Valley.

Taylorís trial commenced yesterday

Reports monitored from The Hague disclosed that the trial of former Liberian President and warlord, Charles Taylor, has started yesterday, June 4 2007. According to the Special Court for Sierra Leone, Taylorís trial would be transmitted live from The Hague, so that those who suffered from Taylorís heinous crimes would have the opportunity to follow up his trial. Reports from Human Rights Watch stated that Taylorís trial will serve as precedence to othersóthat human rights violators would not go scot-free irrespective of their position in society. Charles Taylor has reportedly committed a lot of horrendous crimes against innocent civilians in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Taylorís trial would ensure that justice is meted out to victims of the civil conflicts in the sub-region.

Womenís involvement in politics on the rise

Women, who are contesting for SLPP symbols for the forthcoming parliamentary elections are steadily gaining grounds in. A total of nine women have so far secured SLPP symbols; in the Kenema District, four women have clinched party symbols, three in the Bo Districts; one from Bonthe and one in the Western Area. Over the years, women have been intensifying their campaign for a significant involvement in politics. As the primary elections are still on course, a lot of women are expected to clinch more symbols in the Sierra Leone Peopleís Party. Such ventures are in line with the aims and aspirations of the 50-50 Group.

President of Reportersí Union resigns

Mr. Brima Dawson Kuyateh has reportedly relinquished his position as president of Sierra Leone Reporterís Union. According to the erstwhile president of the union, he resigned in order not to flout the ethics of the unionís constitution, which stipulates that an owner of either a print or electronics media is automatically unfit to be a member of the union. This is to avoid conflict of interest. Mr. Dawson Kuyateh slammed on the executive of the union for being ineffectual. The Western Area, which has a lot of journalists, has not got many registered journalists in the union, Mr. Kuyateh lamented. He also urged the Sierra Leone Union of Journalist to provide assistance to the Reportersí Union.

The Military on human rights

In an effort to bolster the standard of the army, the United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNOSIL), together with the United Nations Development Programme and other implementing partners, is organizing a workshop to sensitize middle career officers in army on human rights, reports noted. The aim of the workshop is to educate military officers about the principles of human rights in areas such as: marriage, property and child rights, gender-based violence, employment, etc. During conflicts, members of the military will be in a better position to protect and promote the basic fundamental rights of all and sundry. Participants will also educate their colleagues on what they would have benefited from the workshop.

Dates for presidential and parliamentary nominations released

Sources from the National Electoral Commission stated that date for submission of presidential and vice presidential candidatesí nominations for the elections is between July 3rd -7th. During this time frame, all submissions should have been done. And nominations for parliamentary candidates would be done between July 2nd and 6th. All nominations should be forwarded to the headquarters of NEC from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. The commission also noted that those who have objections to the eligibility of candidates should do so to NEC within a period of one week, after the lists of all candidates would have been published.

Kono youths attacked PMDC leader

The Peopleís Movement for Democratic Change has expressed anger over an alleged attack on its leader, Charles Margai, by some youths in the Kono District. Sass Lebbie, PMDC chairperson in Kono, said that stones were thrown and Margaiís convoy. Margai and his team were said to be on a sensitization tour of the Kono District, when youths allegedly barricaded Margaiís convoy at different locations in Kono. In Bumpeh, it is reported that chiefdom authorities instigated youths to block Margaiís convoy. However PMDC supporters said they restrained themselves in order to avoid violence.

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