From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Tom Nyuma Speaks from his hospital bed: 'God Bless Ernest Koroma'
By Awareness Times
Jul 25, 2007, 08:06

In an exclusive chat with this newspaper on July 24th 2007, Rtd. Lt. Col. Tom Sahr Nyuma has heaped praises upon both the Presidential Candidate of the All People's Congress (APC) in Sierra Leone, Hon. Ernest Bai Koroma and on the Bo Police Chief, F.U.K. Dabo. According to Nyuma, the two men saved his life yesterday after he was attacked by ex combatants attached to Koroma's security detail.

"God Bless Ernest Koroma. God Bless him. I am alive today because he opened his hotel door and stopped the beating." were the words Nyuma repeatedly said.

According to Nyuma, he checked into the Country Side Hotel at around 10pm the Sunday night before the incident as he had been requested by Finance Minister John Benjamin to check into that hotel which the Finance Minister was intending to lodge in upon the minister's arrival from Segbwema, Kailahun.

Nyuma explained that he went to sleep immediately and was fast asleep when the Finance Minister arrived at the hotel ostensibly around midnight.

According to his security men who also spoke to this newspaper, when John Benjamin arrived at the hotel, he asked them after Nyuma and they informed that Nyuma was asleep. It was at this point that they recounted that Mr. John Benjamin gave them some money and told them to go out and enjoy themselves with Bo's Night life whilst John Benjamin himself went to sleep in his hotel room.

According to the security men, it was upon their return to the hotel around 3:30am that they met "approximately 100 APC supporters dressed in bright red" all over the compound.

They then decided to go and wake up Tom Nyuma and inform him of the large influx of APC men which included former combatants of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) which had occured in their absence from the hotel.

Speaking further, Jimmy recounted that it was whilst he was inside Nyuma's hotel room that loud thumps were made on the hotel door with the voice of a former RUF combatant known as Idrissa Kamara Leatherboot shouting for them to open up the door.

Nyuma in his own narration informed that Jimmy warned him not to open the door but to instead call the receptionist to call the police. However, Nyuma stated that he confidently opened the door and let the men in.

"My political opponent is not my enemy. Ernest Koroma is a political opponent but he is a family friend of my family and I don't hate him," Nyuma asserted as he explained that Koroma had even used his relationship with Nyuma to get the Nyuma family in Buedu to become APC members in Nyuma's absence.

"When I returned to Sierra Leone and went to my relatives in our part of Kailahun, I met many of them who told me that they were now APC supporters as Ernest Koroma, who is my personal friend has asked them to join the APC. Even the man I take as my own Dad; the younger brother of my father, was the APC Head for my area. I listened to their grievances and when I told them that I was SLPP, they all tore up their APC cards and pledged loyalty back to the SLPP." Nyuma further explained as he cited his relationship with the APC Leader, Ernest Koroma to be one of long term and of a very friendly nature.

However, when he opened his room door to let the APC-RUF men inside, he got a big shock.

"All hell broke loose. They attacked us with venom under the guise that they were questioning me for my presence at the hotel." Nyuma explained as he lamented that his attackers all used to be his surbordinates in the now defunct National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) Government of which he was a senior operative.

Awareness Times has learnt that Leatherboot was a former personal assistant to Captain Reginald Glover whilst at least one of the other attacker simply identified as "Soriba" used to be the personal driver to Nyuma.

Nyuma proceeded to recount how his former NPRC junior operatives treated him.

"Both Jimmy and I were dragged outside into the corridor and they took turns at kicking us all over our face and body whilst they carted away everything else that was in my hotel room including my money, my laptop, my glasses and even my intimate personal possessions," Nyuma explained.

Continuing further, he said he was screaming in pain as was Jimmy and at one point, Jimmy lost consciousness. Their screams he said brought the hotel staff to the scene as well as dozens of others. The hotel staff could not stop the beating and were sent away whilst his attackers proceeded to tie the two men up even as they continued kicking them and hitting them with implements.

"It was only when Ernest Koroma opened his room door that some sanity returned. At this point, I could barely think because of the pain but I heard Koroma ordering the men to stop the kicking and beating. However, even though he ordered them to untie me, they refused to do so. It was obvious that he only had some amount of control over them as he could not get them to untie me even when he repeatedly ordered for me to be untied." Nyuma said.

"It was the timely appearance of Police Chief Dabo who came running to the hotel dressed only in his pyjamas that saved me further. God Bless Ernest Koroma and F.U.K. Dabo." Nyuma said as he explained that it was Dabo who got the assailants to untie him and Jimmy.

When it was put to him on his hospital bed that Ernest Koroma had reportedly told the Standard Times Press that Nyuma had been surveillancing him for the alleged assasination attempt all the way from Moyamba, Nyuma expressed gross disbelief.

"Ernest Koroma is a gentleman. I do not believe he will say things like that about me. I have not been to Moyamba since I returned to Sierra Leone. I spent one or two hours at Mano Dasse with Vice President Berewa at the Mano Dasse Rally after the Bo Rally following which I bade the VP goodbye and went to visit my relatives in Kailahun. So, how and exactly where could I have been surveillancing Koroma in Moyamba?" Nyuma asked in shock.

Nyuma also used the opportunity to debunk the allegation that he was now, together with Maada Bio, part of the security detail of Vice President Berewa.

"That is rubbish, Total Rubbish. Bodyguards to VP Berewa? That is rubbish! I don't know why these people are building all these propaganda against us. Politics should be civil. Political Opponents are not enemies. We should not hate each other," Nyuma said in a very depressed tone.

It was at this point that his doctor requested that the interview be cut short so that Nyuma could get some rest and not get more depressed.

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