The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Internal Affairs, Raymond Kabia is being strongly alleged to have supported terror in the Masimera Chiefdom in the Port Loko District, Northern Sierra Leone.
This was disclosed to the Awareness Times by journalists who were present at the scene and confirmed by the Honourable Member of Parliament, Jacob I. Koroma representing Constituency 58 comprising the Masimera Chiefdom. According to the MP, the issue surrounding the perpetration of terror started as far back as December last year during the Paramount Chieftaincy Elections when the Deputy Minister imposed an illegitimate candidate on the people in that chiefdom. He said Hon. Kabia and some other prominent APC personalities supported one Shippa Bangura whom he claims "illegally" contested with two "legitimate" candidates in persons of Muluku Sulaiman Bai Bangura, and Henry Santigie Bangura.
The MP further alleged that in order to get his way, the Deputy Minister prevented some tribal authorities from voting as he hired thugs from Mile 91 and Marampa to disrupt the process if his candidate, Shippa was not allowed to be voted for. He said the minister ended by forcing his candidate on the electorates, and when none of the candidates failed to secure the mandated 55% of the votes cast, Minister Raymond Kabia suddenly went the extra mile to declare Shippa as the winner.
According to the MP, this act by the minister did not go down well with the chiefdom people, especially the contestants who decided to petition Shippa on grounds of illegitimacy.
"Since then, there has been no peaceful co-existence in my constituency as the minister has continued to harass and intimidate my people who he sees as enemy to his diabolic machination" Hon. Jacob Koroma said.
He also reported that on the 14th of January this year, those who were not in support of his candidate were seriously beaten, including pregnant women at Natholay Village by thugs of Shippa.
"A pregnant woman was beaten till she miscarried and the dead foetus is currently at the Connaught Hospital Mortuary,í he informed, adding that the CID Police are investigating the matter.
As if the beatings at Natholay was not enough, Hon. Koroma said Sarokoh village and Masimera Town were past Saturday 17th April 2010 attacked by thugs who dressed a masquerade devil known as ĎManekeí which involves the use of a secret society devil that is "full of evil spirits".
Many people were seriously wounded and properties worth millions of Leones destroyed. The MP disclosed that the attackers came from Rosynth, Petefu-Lonko and Mapeless village respectively. He said an eight year old boy of Sarokoh Village was included amongst the latest victims.
One of the victims, Abdul Koroma a.k.a. Katta when contacted by Awareness Times confirmed that the attackers were armed with sticks, machetes and other dangerous weapons.
"First, they came to Pa Lamina Dawo, the village Imam and insulted him, twisted his beards and gripped his neck until he ran away from them. They then turned against us," Katta said. He also alleged that the attackers were mobilized by the Chiefdom Speaker, Momoh Bangura who reportedly instructed one Gbogboroh Koroma to lead the attack, and was the first to stab another of the victims, Abdul Koroma close to the eyes. They were later rescued by one Pa Alpha Koroma who arranged to rush them to the Masimera Health centre.
Sources from Masimera say the Deputy Minister has been in support of Shippa Bangura since the period of the election. It was alleged that Mr. Kabia is financially supporting the perpetrators of the violence on the grounds that most of the people did not vote for Shippa. Reports further alleged that police in that area are not treating the matter with any seriousness, because they have received emoluments from the minister. Instead of arresting the perpetrators, our source says the victims were arrested and brought to the Masiaka Police Station and maltreated. Unconfirmed reports say the LUC at Masiaka, Monday Kargbo dispatched the troops to Masimera which arrested the victims and left the perpetrators to go scot-free.
The beleaguered petitioned Paramount Chief Shippa Bangura is said to be threatening to marginalise his subjects who did not vote for him if ever he gets to be officially crowned but no independent collaboration of this claim was made.
When contacted for his own side of the story, the minister, Raymond Kabia confirmed that indeed he learnt that violence broke out in the Chiefdom but he denied having any hands in it. He promised to grant a full interview to Awareness Times on Monday.
"I am on my way to the Provinces right now so I cannot grant you a long interview but as soon as I come back, I will explain to you my own side," Minister Raymond Kabia promised Awareness Times.
Meanwhile, many of the people who fled the violence have told this newspaper that the terror they suffered was reminiscent of the old days of the ruling APC party when violence was synonymous with the party.