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Statement Delivered in Sierra Leone by 29 Families of Victims of NPRC Extra-Judicial Executions
By Julius Bambay Kamara
Sep 27, 2011, 17:17
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Statement Delivered by Julius Bambay Kamara on

behalf of 29 Families of NPRCs 1992 Executed Victims

 

Monday 26TH September 2011 at National Stadium Hostels in Freetown

 

Mr. Chairman, members of the print and electronic media, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of the families and relatives of the 29 victims who were brutally murdered by the NPRC military junta on the 29th December 1992 I welcome you to this press briefing. The purpose of this conference ladies and gentlemen is to inform you on our strives and efforts as aggrieved families in getting justice for our loved ones who were wrongfully or otherwise snatched away from us. I say otherwise because we are yet to establish the facts and reasons for their executions. It is in pursuance of these facts and reasons that we the relatives of the 29 victims have decided to come together and exercise our constitutional rights in asking the Government of Sierra Leone to set up an inquest that will look into the death of our beloved ones.

 

We have therefore sent a letter to His Excellency the President signed by a good number of relatives of the 29 victims with copies sent to the International Community, our moral guarantors.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we are not asking for another round of madness in this Nation for we do not believe that any individual has the right to take the life of another no matter the circumstances. We are firm believers in the right to life. It is on this background that we find it very disturbing that the lives of our beloved ones can be snatched away from them by rogue elements without due process of the law and not even an explanation. What we seek is not revenge; we seek justice. What we seek is not war; we seek peace. For justice and peace go hand in hand. Without justice, there shall be no peace for peace without justice is fragile. Is that what we want in this Nation? A fragile peace?

 

The High Table: Makai, the daughter of Major Aruna Jalloh, Julius the son of James Bambay Kamara. Next to him in a hat is the Chairman of the occassion who is elder brother of late Major Hanciles. Extreme right is another family member

 

Be informed ladies and gentlemen that we the aggrieved relatives have formed a unit to fight against this injustice and neglect that we suffer today. It is our resolve that we would not rest until justice is done and seen to be done. Make no mistake our options are unlimited. We may not have the financial might to fight but we certainly do have the human resource and the willpower to fight on. So let it be known that if this Government fails to adhere to our request which is an inquest - our constitutional right to know what happened to our loved ones, some 19 years ago; why today we no longer have them around; even their remains cannot be accessed then this Government would have failed us. We would then have no option but to take our fight to the International Justice arena.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, you may agree with me that we have been patient for far too long. For 19 years we have been suffering in silence with no one to come to our aid. We have been scorned, laughed at and spat upon. Those we run to for help slam their doors in our faces. To this day, people continue to ridicule our plight. We cannot take it anymore. No one should underestimate our desire for the truth. Do not force us to react by scorning our cries.

 

The son of one of the executed victims holds up handwritten messages: IT IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS: WE DEMAND JUSTICE

 

Daughters and Wives of executed victims. There were a total of 63 relatives representing every single one of the 29 victims

 

Two of the wives of executed victims of extra-judicial killings

 

Cross-section of some of the relatives. There were a total of 63 relatives present

 

Ladies and gentlemen, we are on a mission. I dub this mission: TRUTH BE REVEALED. It is time for us to create another story. The stories out there about our late parents and relatives have all been negative. There are three sides to a story. Your side, my side and the whole truth. Our detractors have been talking for the last 19 years whilst we were intimidated into painful silence. They came up with all sorts of crazy theories about our late parents. They wrote all sorts of negative stories about our late parents. That is their side of the story. We are now speaking. Please listen.

 

The daughter of late Lt. Col. J. Yaya Kanu holds up his photo stuck on a cardboard with tape
The late Lt. Colonel Yaya Kanu was a gallant soldier who repeatedly defended his motherland with his sweat and blood inspiring young officers to do the same and be willing to lay their lives down for this country because they saw him as an officer and a gentleman to be emulated.

 

Distinguished legal personalities will readily inform that the late Major Kawuta Dumbuya was the first trained and qualified military lawyer that this country ever produced.

 

James Bambay Kamara was a very brilliant police officer who remains to this date to be by far the best Inspector General this Nation has ever had and probably will ever have. He was not only a very considerate police officer who ensured the well being of the men who served under his command but he was also a philanthropist who helped hundreds of people in their education and above all, he was a very loving father who cared for his immediate and extended family.

 

This is our own side of the story. These are a few descriptions of the people who were snatched away from this earth by a rogue regime. These were wonderful men and a wonderful woman by the name of Salamatu Kamara whose relatives are also here today with us as we jointly cry out for the truth to be made known and justice to be given.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, what we are asking for now is the third part of the story. Let the inquest speak and that will be the whole truth.

 

I will not want to have a situation where my son will come to this country and pick up a newspaper and all he reads are negative descriptions of his grandfather. I cannot afford for him to go through the psychological trauma that I went through. I was a 15 years old teenager on 29th December 1992 and it took a long time to overcome the shame and trauma. Here with me today is Victor Jarrett (Jnr.) the only son of Fireman Victor Jarrett (Snr.) who last saw his father in November 1992 on the day he was arrested at an entertainment drinking spot at Lumpa Waterloo. Victor Jarrett was executed along with many including the illiterate man who was the palm-wine tapper. Like me, Victor Jarrett has suffered 19 years of trauma and shame.

 

Makai, the daughter of executed Major Aruna Jalloh explains how her father had just sent her out to buy garri and sugar and they were proceeding to have it for their supper when the NPRC soldiers arrived and bundled her father off with only his pajamas. She alleges wives were raped and many children had to suffer abandonment of their schooling
Only an inquest into those deaths will clear the air and ensure the records are corrected to reveal our fathers and relatives did not deserve to die but were innocent persons who got tortured from the time they were collected at 11:00am on December 28th 1992 until they were butchered by 2:00am on December 29th 1992 along with others collected that night. It is only when the deliberate smearing of their memories will have been rectified that their souls can rest in peace.

 

The Special Court for Sierra Leone could not have looked into the events of the rogue NPRC regime because their timed mandate was limited to not look into criminal human rights abuses dated earlier than 30th November 1996.

 

In the case of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC), they did an incomplete job of investigating the truth of the extra-judicial killings of our loved ones. TRC Report seemed to have a motive of hiding away the truth of the horrors of the killings as if such hiding of truth will make truth disappear and be replaced by glorification of murderers. However truth is something that can never disappear. Truth crushed to ground will rise again one day.

 

Therefore, the truth must be revealed. Let us do this for Posterity. Let us put an end to impunity. If it can happen in Germany, Rwanda and Chile, then it can happen in Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone is part of the civilised world. Let us do what civilised countries do.

 

Before we end, we want to appeal to our moral guarantors in the International Community both in and out of Sierra Leone to realise that the people here are not any less human than elsewhere.

 

We want to appeal to the United Nations representative Mr. Schulenburg that his home country of Germany is not any better than my country Sierra Leone. If human rights abusers in Germany can be chased and tried over 50 years after their criminal acts, Sierra Leone is not any less than Germany. We do not understand why Mr. Schulenburg told the United Nations Security Council last week that he welcomes the Apology from NPRCs Julius Maada Bio given to our families. With all due respect to Mr. Schulenburg, how can he welcome an Apology made to us without first speaking to us to know our feelings on it? Mr. Schulenburg, please know Sir that the victims families have REJECTED that apology!

 

We also want to appeal to the American diplomats in Sierra Leone to take a leaf out of the pages of their President Barack Obama whose disdain for human rights abusers is stated at any opportunity he has. They are here to represent the interests of the American people. The American people will not allow anybody who committed human rights abuse or aided and abetted human rights abuses to enter American soil. American diplomats must reflect this position in all their words and actions or they will be failing America.

 

We want to appeal to the British High Commissioner Ian Hughes that if the characters of the personalities of would-be leaders of Great Britain are carefully scrutinised to ensure a safe democracy for the British, then the people of Sierra Leone deserve to scrutinise the character of personalities seeking to lead Sierra Leone.

 

Finally, we want to appeal to our brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone especially Bishop Humper to understand that our loved ones were not taken away as victims of a war situation but they were specially targeted for elimination; some of them were taken from behind steel prison bars accused of plotting to overthrow a junta from inside prison cells. Can this be possible?  Where was the evidence and record of trial if any for the alleged crimes? This and similar questions are what we demand answers for which can only be provided by a proper inquest. We have been demanding answers for 19 years now and we have been snubbed all the time.

 

Julius Bambay Kamara had an emotional moment. He is shown here as he tries to comport himself

 

During the SLPP Administration, we formally wrote to the former Attorney-General Solomon Berewa who invited us to discuss the issue of an inquest into the killings of our relatives. He kept on promising us but did nothing until SLPP lost power.

 

In this APC administration of Ernest Koroma, we are being treated the same way. Since 2007 to date, we have written countless letters and all letters have been greeted with promises to investigate the circumstance of the extra-judicial killings but nothing is ever done to appease our pains. We recall how Ernest Koroma whilst campaigning had promised to investigate those brutal killings if elected. He also made a call for investigation to TRC.

 

The International Community in this day and age of respect for human rights, have made no efforts to ever reach out to us and discuss with us. We have been treated like lepers. They have pretended we do not exist and our pains are non-existent. Some of their insensitive words have been provocative jibes upon the sores in our hearts. We appeal to them to stop. Please, we ask you. Stop. Stop. Stop.

 

Julius Bambay Kamara threatens that no-one should doubt their resolve to get at the truth: "All we want is closure". - "What we seek is not war; we seek peace. For justice and peace go hand in hand. Without justice, there shall be no peace for peace without justice is fragile. Is that what we want in this Nation? A fragile peace?" - "Ladies and gentlemen, what we are asking for now is the third part of the story. Let the inquest speak and that will be the whole truth".

 

We all here are now firmly united and determined to ensure no-one snubs us anymore as our silence has led people to believe that impunity for murders is an accepted way of life in Sierra Leone and that extra-judicial murders can be swept under the carpet and murderers can be glorified whilst victims will continue to be victimised even in death. This is not the image we should allow our children to have. We owe it to them to ensure truth and justice are the accepted way of life and that murderers are not glorified. Without peace and justice, there cannot be closure. We simply request closure.


I thank you for coming. God bless you and God bless Sierra Leone, the land that we love.


We will now take questions from the floor.


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

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