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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, American Ambassador Visits Scene of Rape & Violence: Assures SLPP of International Communityís Concern
By Aruna Turay
Mar 18, 2009, 17:32
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The United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone has, on the invitation of the Chairman and Executive of the opposition Sierra Leone Peopleís Party (SLPP), yesterday March 17th 2009, paid an assessment visit to the vandalized Wallace Johnson Street Headquarters of the SLPP in Freetown.

John Ben listens keenly to US Ambassador, This photo is evidence that the compound was full of stones, as the Ambassadorís left foot is shown at a strained position on top of a stone

Ambassador June Carter Perry was yesterday led on the inspection tour by the SLPPís National Chairman, John Oponjo Benjamin however the group, including US Embassy executives and other members of SLPP was unfortunately unable to gain access to any of the entrances of the building as they found the entrance door to the building had been welded firmly shut in an illegal act by the Government operatives in the Police Force. Journalists who accompanied the US Ambassador to the SLPP offices were informed alongside the US Ambassador by John Benjamin that he learnt that orders to weld the main door and windows at the basement were made by no less a person than the Inspector General of Police, Brima Acha Kamara.

The US Ambassador listens with shock whilst a police officer explains was the thugs did to the SLPP Headquarters

The look on the face of the US Ambassador as she looked through the windows into the carnage, especially the room where the female party supporters were allegedly gang-raped by ruling party thugs, spoke volumes.

The US Ambassador continues to stumble on top of stones and sticks whilst on the conducted tour.


As a result of being denied access, the Ambassador and the SLPP Chairman were left with no other option but to limit their visit within the compound where they stood and discussed. The Ambassador assured of America & the International Communityís continuous support to development of Sierra Leone.

"America and the International Community will continue to support Sierra Leone. It is in that regard that we are going to investigate through listening to both parties in order for us to know what exactly facilitated the act of violence on that day" she said.

Ambassador June Carter Perry reiterated the international communityís stake in the development of the country and mentioned how "judging from the sad history of this country", the international community "is closely monitoring developments in the country". She added that they were always looking for a way forward. For his part, John Benjamin thanked the ambassador for her visit to assess the damage. He stated: "As you can see for yourself, everything has been damaged and vandalized".

Mr. Benjamin informed the Ambassador and her entourage that following last Fridayís attack, he had entrusted the officeís security to the National Police only for them to look on as the office was invaded a second time in an even more brutal manner that resulted in female supporters being raped in broad daylight.

He especially deplored Mondayís invasion saying "after the vice president assured us on Saturday of our security, no other person but a known security threat in the person of Idrissa Kamara alias Leather Boot of the Presidential Guards, came with others to invade our sacred offices, vandalized it and some of them proceeded to gang-rape women under the watchful eye of the police". Hon. Benjamin lamented to the Americans that no condemnation f the acts of Leather Boot or the others have been made since the ugly incidents rather innocent SLPP supporters had been carted off to police cells by the invaders.

Benjamin ended by also assuring the ambassador of the SLPPís commitment to peace and development. "As the next Government in waiting, our party has no intention to use violence to achieve our goal. Thatís why we have restrained our supporters to remain calm and look up to us" he informed positively adding that they would rebuild their HQs again.


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