From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP Supporters Attacked by PMDC near Kabala in Sierra Leone
By Daniel Sewah & Aruna Turay
Jul 23, 2007, 21:43

A Trail of Violence Haunts Margai...


The People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), whether or not by its own doing, is now widely accepted to be associated with violence as it leaves in the wake of its ongoing campaign, a trail of gbos-gbos (violence). The violence in Kailahun town is now well known and the planned violence in Kenema town was quickly nipped in the bud by vigilant police officers. However, fate was not as kind to the people of Koinadugu as it was to the people of Kenema. It was in Koinadugu District that the PMDC-associated violence reared its head again last Friday 20th July 2007, when Balla Koroma and Kona Koroma, the nephews of an SLPP aspirant were given a good beating by dozens of PMDC supporters.

The PMDC has accepted that indeed Balla and Kona Koroma were brutalized by their supporters but they claim justification for the violent attack they perpetuated on them citing that the Koroma brothers deserved to be beaten up because they "provoked" the PMDC to anger.

Earlier, following his successful rally in Kenema, Eastern Sierra Leone, Lawyer Charles Margai, the Leader of the PMDC led his convoy straight up to Kabala in Koinadugu, Northern Sierra Leone, where he first addressed the people of the Kabala Headquarters town. After addressing Kabala, the PMDC Convoy headed for Diang Kondebaya which is the Chiefdom Headquarters town of Diang Chiefdom. It was in Diang Kondebaya that the nephews of SLPP’s Constituency 43’s Parliamentary Candidate, Daniel Ferenkeh Koroma, received a good beating.

Whilst being interviewed by this press, one of the victims Balla Koroma stated that PMDC supporters entered the town holding sticks and harmful weapons in their hands. On entering the town, they met his brother Kona Koroma who had been standing in front of their house, hanging their Uncle’s SLPP symbol. According to Balla, when the PMDC supporters saw him wearing his green T-shirt and pasting the party symbol on their house, they rushed at him and started beating him up with sticks, whereby he sustained huge gashes on his forehead which had to be stitched up with eight stitches. When Balla later attempted to intervene, he was also manhandled.

"There was blood all over our compound." Kona Koroma explained.

As is the usual practice of this newspaper, Awareness Times contacted the PMDC’s Parliamentary candidate for Constituency 43, John Yarrwah Marah to comment on the issue. According to the PMDC’s Marah, indeed the two brothers were given "a good beating" but not because of what had been explained to Awareness Times.

According to John Yarrwah Marah, he himself was the one leading the convoy bearing the Presidential candidate Lawyer C.F. Margai. On entering the town, he saw Kona Koroma and Balla Koroma dressed in full SLPP green regalia, attempting to disrupt the convoy by cheekily displaying their uncle’s SLPP symbol and campaign posters. Speaking further, the PMDC strong man opined that "laid down electoral rules" state that whenever one party was officially campaigning, no other party should be around. However, John Marah stated that although they were sorely provoked by the display of SLPP regalia and colours when PMDC was officially passing by, the PMDC did nothing to the young men at that time.

"As if that insult was not enough, these same two young men forced their way into the hall where the PMDC leader was reading his manifesto to the gathering crowd and rudely disordered the meeting in progress" Jonh Yarrwah stated adding that the two men were shouting as follows: "We need no fake party here, except the palm tree (SLPP)".

"It was at this point that PMDC members lost cool and dealt with the agents of provocation," Marah said. He explained that theensuing free for all fight between the PMDC and SLPP in the hall led to Lawyer Margai having to quit the hall and not end his Manifesto reading.

Speaking also was the SLPP’s Parliamentary Candidate for the area, D.F Koroma, who is the uncle of the two victims. He lamented what he described as an "unfortunate scenario" and denied that his nephews had provoked the scuffle. According to him, his nephews were "too well behaved" to carry themselves in such a manner. He squarely blamed the violence on the PMDC entourage whom he alleged were angry that the turnout of supporters for them in Constituency 43 was just a handful.

Meanwhile, the Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Kabala Police Station Mr. K.S. Kamara told this press that, initial investigations pointed more towards a family feud than towards actual political violence. He expressed exasperation that Balla Koroma only made an initial report last Friday and has since never turned up again.

In our next edition, we will bring you a report of what Margai said in Kabala including his promises on what happens to Hon. Ernest Koroma, VP Berewa, President Kabbah and IG Acha Kamara if Margai wins the Presidency.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.