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In Sierra Leone, Sylvia Blyden Threatened with Death along Siaka Stevens St.
Jan 28, 2009, 15:54
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The problems of lawlessness and uncontrolled violence with impunity seems to have taken an even greater degree in the country. In normal civilised countries, when suspects arraigned for violence are granted bail, they respect their bail conditions and do not go about causing even more violence in the same jurisdiction.

Awareness Times Dr. Sylvia O. Blyden (A Leading News Publisher)... Gbakima and his Thugs yesterday openly threatened to finish her life off because she was publishing about their violent activities that almost led to the murder of the son of Reverend Chambers

However, it will now appear that certain persons believe they are now living in a land where impunity rather than justice is the order of the day.

In the late afternoon of yesterday Janaury 27th 2009 at around 5pm , well known violent thugs (led by one Alfred T. Gbakima), who had only just been released from remand at the Pademba Road Prisons accosted the brave female Publisher of a Sierra Leonean newspaper, The Awareness Times, along Siaka Stevens Street in full view of the public and workers returning home.

The matter has already been brought to the attention of the Sierra Leone Police, the Independent Media Commission (IMC), the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists, The Human Rights Commission, The Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs, Women In the Media Sierra Leone amongst others.

The Serious Crimes Unit of the CID have last night taken down statements from Blyden and other eye witnesses.

According to reports, Blyden and the ringleader of the thugs, Gbakima had yesterday appeared at the IMC where Gbakima had complained that Blyden was "biased" in her newspapers reporting against him. However, the IMC pointed out to Gbakima that since the matter he was complaining about had led to a court action being taken by the State against the men he hired, the IMC could not sit on the matter as it could be prejudicial to the court proceedings.

A furious Gbakima had then remarked in front of the IMC Commissioners that Blyden was being paid to write against him and that she was merely being "fed" what to write about him and had not investigated properly. To this, Sylvia Blyden had retorted that Gbakima should not underestimate or challenge the quality of her newspapers investigative skills.

Following this, Blyden walked down the IMC steps only to overhear Gbakima directing some person or persons on his mobile phone line that he was "coming with her right now" and describing his exact location along Siaka Stevens Street. Not assuming that the "her" would be referring to her person, Blyden walked down the stairs and when she got to Siaka Stevens Street, she met up with one of the PR staff at the Bank of Sierra Leone and the two of them chatted. It was at this point when the Bank of Sierra Leone staff was walking away and Blyden was attempting to find her way home that she was surrounded by a bunch of unruly and loudly gesticulating men who told her in no uncertain terms that they were the ones she had published material against which had led to them being charged to court.

It will be recalled that certain suspects acting on the alleged orders of Alfred T. Gbakima, had attacked one Reverend Chambers, his son and a lawyers clerk with machetes on a disputed piece of land whilst citing the name of Vice President Sam-Sumana as their benefactor. The VP had long since distanced himself from their actions but the Police had stalled to charge the culprits to court which had caused Blyden and her newspaper to publicise the matter. Eventually, facing media pressure, the men hired by Gbakima who chopped Chambers skull with a machete were charged to court and remanded. They were however released on bail yesterday only for them to be summoned by Gbakima once again to accost, abuse and molest Sylvia Blyden in the full view of the public along Siaka Stevens Street just a few meters away from the High Court which had granted them bail and released them into the society once again.

In the middle of the loud bunch of thugs who had just been released by the Courts was Alfred T. Gbakima himself who proceeded to identify Blyden to thesuspects saying, "this is the woman who caused you to be locked up in jail for the last week". The thugs then stated they would ensure she paid for such with her life.

"Na you make ar go Pademba Road? You life just finish. Enti den say you get mot? We nor get mot. Na muscles we get," one of the thugs later identified as the First Accused, loudly promised [TRANSLATED: You caused me to be lock up in Pademba Road Prisons? Well, consider your life to now be over. People say you are mouthy but we dont use our mouths, we use our muscles].

Another of the thugs later identified as the Second Accused, stated the following whilst gesticulating with his fingers: "Ee go easy so for broke, broke you. If we nor finish you off, change we name". [TRANSLATION: It is going to be very easy to break you up into little pieces. If we dont finish you off, then change our names]

Although the men stated that they had just been released from Pademba Road prisons on bail, their actions and threats were with such impunity and in broad daylight. Fortunately for Blyden, she had two bodyguards around who quickly acted as a shield between herself and the thugs.

The thugs openly promised Blyden that she had now been identified whilst Gbakima, who had summoned the men told Blyden that she was "too brave" to be a woman and so she should be "taken out of this society."

"You are a menace to this society. Your writings are a problem in this country but we will ensure you are well dealt with" Gbakima shouted as passers-by watched the display of intimidation and thuggery. Some people driving by in their cars slowed down whilst two white men who had been walking along the pavement, upon seeing the thugs and hearing their loud threats, were seen quickly crossing the road. It will be recalled that a white British gentleman was brutally murdered in mysterious circumstances in his home in Freetown less than a week ago. The incidences of uncurtailed violence in Sierra Leone has been steadily rising.

The Late British Citizen, Nick Foster is shown with his Grandson just a month ago in the UK at X-mas. Foster travelled to Sierra Leone where he was brutally murdered last week. His family sent this photo to us yesterday.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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