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NEWS  

Compilation of the News Reports concerning the situation in Southern Sierra Leone
By Various Correspondents
Sep 9, 2011, 21:21
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Maada Bio 'Attacked' in Bo Town: Minute by minute Live Updates
By Abu Shaw and Sylvia Blyden
Sep 9, 2011, 16:59

We have just received two urgent phone calls from the Spokesman of SLPP Bo District, Mr. Daemba Kanji-Daramy and also from the National Chairman of the SLPP John Oponjo Benjamin. They are alleging that the SLPPs Presidential Candidate Julius Maada Bio has been attacked as his vehicle moved past the PMDC Offices. According to Kanji Daramy, a stone hit the skull of Bio and his head is now covered in blood dripping on to his clothes. According to John Benjamin, his own vehicle had been way ahead of the convoy and he is now trying to get in touch with Bio but Bios phone seems to be switched off. Benjamin says he is trying to reach the Police Boss Francis Munu and the AIG for Southern Region.

We have also just received another urgent phone call from a member of the ruling APC party in Bo who alleges from his home, that he has been reliably informed that the APC Party Offices in Bo is currently being set on fire with petrol by SLPP Youths. The APC member, who is pleading for anonymity, says the SLPP Youths claim that the attack on Maada Bios head causing him to bleed was suspected to be the work of the APC. He however insists that the entire thing is just a set-up by SLPP to burn down the APC Party Offices.

We have now received still another phone call from an eye-witness at the scene who has confirmed that the APC Party Offices is engulfed in a huge fire right now as SLPP Youths sing kamajor songs around the party offices. This eyewitness has confirmed that indeed he saw Maada Bio with blood pouring off his face onto his outfit. It appears that no-one knows where the stone that hit Maada Bio came from but he was reported to have been wounded on his skull. Meanwhile, the entire Bo is now in pandemonium with women and children running helter skelter and shops closing down.


SLPP Youths now Burning down APC Houses in Bo - Police Officer was not executed as falsely reported
By Bo Correspondents
Sep 9, 2011, 17:22

Latest reports are that after the APC Party Offices was burnt to the ground, the SLPP Youths moved to the residence of the APC District Chairman Sheku Sillah and have also razed his entire house down to the ground with petrol fires.

At this very moment (17:20GMT), the SLPP youths are now moving towards the residence of Moijue Kaikai, the Resident Minister with huge gallons of petrol. Additionally, the Radio stations are announcing that a police officer has been executed in the street by SLPP Youths. His body is reported to be lying on the ground with his weapon seized by the SLPP Youths. Another OSD Officer, who spoke to Awareness Times, using the mobile phone of a sympathetic passer-by says he has suffered a broken leg and still yet another says his arms are broken and he needs help but the SLPP Youths are preventing them from getting medical help.

The Local Unit Commander for the Police has had his vehicle seized and arms seized by SLPP Youths who are now hunting for well known APC members in Bo City. Senior APC figures have all gone underground to hide. Awareness Times has been unable to reach any senior APC figure in the township.

UPDATE: It has been confirmed that the Police Officer whose body was on the ground did not die but had merely gone into a Coma. Radio Stations in Bo had earlier reported he had been killed by irate SLPP Youths. The Police was able to stop the youths from burning down Moijue Kaikai's Government residence.


As he did in Freetown, President Koroma had given Orders for the APC Party Members to stay away from APC Offices in Bo today: NO ONE WAS AT APC OFFICES
By Sylvia Blyden
Sep 9, 2011, 17:47
 

Awareness Times has just received a phone call from the APC District Chairman for Bo District, Sheku Sillah who phoned us from his hiding place in Bo. He has confirmed that just as happened in Freetown, when the SLPP was having their National Party Convention from July 29th to July 31st, the APC Leader, President Ernest Koroma gave firm instructions to him and the entire APC membership in Bo, to shut down the APC offices in Bo during the period of the SLPP Rally in Bo today and for all APC supporters and members to stay away from the vicinity of the Bio Rally in the same way they did in Freetown.

Sheku Sillah, who was bitterly weeping over the phone, told Awareness Times that they followed President Koromas instructions to the Letter and not a single person was at the APC Offices the whole day today; we shut the offices down. He however says he had received intelligence information from within sources in SLPP that Maada Bios supporters had been planning to burn down APC offices today and he had reported the matter to the Police in Bo yesterday but he lamented the police did nothing until they have now burnt down our houses and killed our people. He says he has received unconfirmed report that one of his female relatives has been killed by SLPP Youths and that his two houses have been burnt down to the ground.

Numerous eye-witnesses tell Awareness Times that SLPP Youths who were chanting out Maada Bio Pa.O.Pa - Next President! have also used petrol to burn down to the ground the homes of several supporters of President Ernest Koroma in Bo District, including PMDC Parliamentarian Hon. Legacy Sankoh (Founder of De Pa In Yai).

It is important to note that the APC Party Offices in Bo District is not located on the main Highway but off from the main streets. Thus the report by a certain journalist to the world media about stones being thrown from APC Party Offices at Maada Bios convoy, should be discarded into the dustbins. Not only is it physically impossible for that to have happened but according to Sheku Sillah, there was no-one at the APC Party Offices in Bo. Thus, such a report must be trashed for the garbage it is.

Awareness Times is now trying to reach as many stakeholders as possible including SLPP Leader John Benjamin and SLPP Presidential Candidate Julius Maada Bio whom we understand has been treated and discharged. We are also trying to reach APC Leader President Koroma whom, one of his aides has just told us, is extremely distraught and distressed. 


LATEST UPDATES ON THE VIOLENCE IN BO
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Sep 9, 2011, 19:45

SLPP Leader John Oponjo Benjamin has told Awareness Times that if anyone says there were no APC supporters at the APC Party Offices in Bo, that person is a liar because I saw a whole lot of APC youths at their party offices, dressed in bright red when I drove by ahead of Maada Bio. APC District Chairman Sheku Sillah had insisted that neither him nor any APC member had been at their party offices today in deference to an instruction from APC Leader that as happened in Freetown during SLPP rallies, no APC office should be opened.

According to Benjamin, he lamented the outbreak of violence in Bo Town but stated that the Police was not on top of the situation which was why it went out of control. According to Benjamin, both himself and Maada Bio have spoken out in Bo this evening during which they have strongly condemned the violent acts of the youths who took the Law into their hands after Maada Bio was injured.

The irate youths who are SLPP supporters, have caused unconscionable levels of violence in Bo today following the wounding of Maada Bio whilst Bio was coming from Muslim prayers and heading for the Coronation Field.

Awareness Times can now authoritatively reveal that Maada Bio was not seriously wounded at all. Medical sources who were present when Maada Bio was being treated inform that contrary to what was confirmed to the BBC, Mr. Maada Bio did not suffer from multiple head injuries rather he was merely hit with a rubber-fack (a sling) stone that gave him a skin cut above one of his eyes that caused him to bleed.

Infact, after being treated for the small cut, Maada Bio and John Benjamin alongside Dr. Kadi Sesay and Momodu Koroma amongst others, still tried to hold their planned meeting at Coronation Field where it is reported that the sum of almost Le50million was pledged towards the SLPPs campaign. However, the SLPP had to cut the meeting short due to instability in the township.

We can also confirm from the Assistant Inspector General of Police for Southern Province, David Sesay that the OSD officer who was reported to have died, is still alive but in a coma and unable to speak. He has been hospitalised.

No police officer was killed. One of our men was badly injured but the doctors say he will survive... two other officers were very seriously injured but not life threatening injuries and three uniformed police officers sustained slight injuries and have been treated and gone home, AIG David Sesay informed Awareness Times.

The situation has been put under control for now but we cant confirm if the rioters will not try to disrupt the peace again and so right now I am organising a robust night patrol and more reinforcements are coming in, AIG Sesay informed.

We have made some arrests and we are now starting our investigations into what happened but for now, things are under control in Bo Town, the Police Chief said.

Meanwhile, we are still trying to get on to APC Leader President Koroma as well as SLPP Presidential Candidate Julius Maada Bio. As the two presidential contenders for next years elections, we want to hear from them directly. We particularly are trying to speak to Bio in whose name the SLPP Youths caused such havoc in Bo Town today. We want to know from the horses mouth what is his reaction to what has happened today when SLPP youths committed arson, physical assaults, outright violence and almost murdered a police officer simply because an unidentified person slung a rubber-fack stone that gave Maada Bio a little skin cut above the eye.


SLPP Leaders are Heartless - Sheku Sillah Family Member
By Correspondents
Sep 9, 2011, 20:19
The burnt out corpse of a six months old baby who was the grand-daughter of Sheku Sillah, the APC Chairman for Bo District, has been removed from the charred remains of the once-beautiful Bo Town residence of the Sillah family. She had been sleeping inside a bedroom when the crazed SLPP Youths struck the house and set it on fire with petrol.

APC Chairman Sheku Sillah who has spent the last one hour sobbing uncontrollably, according to eyewitnesses, was unable to speak to Awareness Times on the phone. One of his nieces, who is believed to be the aunt of the dead baby, managed to grant an interview amidst the background noise of wails and crys of pains.

She screamed out over the phone the following: SLPP Leaders are Heartless; they planned all of this from yesterday but Allah will judge. Allah will judge. Allah will judge!!!

It is an emotional time within the Sheku Sillah household right now.


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

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