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SLPPís West Side Boys like Shawalawalay Sweizzy & Timberland, alongside Rambo, Eddie Murphy accused of Kidnapping &Torture; of Foreign Journalist
By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden
Oct 11, 2012, 17:17
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Members of the dreaded killers who invaded Freetown on 6th January 1999 leaving unprecedented and unimaginable horrors in their wake, have been recruited by Julius Maada Bio in droves.


Those of us who have well researched this countryís civil strife were shocked beyond measure when we looked at the photographs of Maada Bioís black-clad private security unit and saw them packed full of the former dreaded WEST SIDE BOYS from the defunct AFRC regime. The former combatants who hacked off hands and raped and pillaged and burnt down houses in January 1999 were the ones whom Maada Bio was proudly showcasing to the entire world this week.

They are more well known by their wartime nom de guerres than their real names. Names like Rambo, Eddie Murphy, Shawalawalay (Sweizzy), Yaribo, Timberland, Amza, etc. etc. this Monday October 8th 2012, streamed through the streets of the city they had terrorised during AFRC and in January 1999 alongside their former sobel master Julius Maada Bio.


Dr. Kadi Sesay and Maada Bio, the self-acclaimed 'Brigadier' are led through the streets of Freetown by their WEST SIDE BOYS. There are eight former WEST SIDE BOYS in this photo.


Dressed in black in this photo from left to right are, TIMBERLAND, RAMBO, SHAWALAWALAY and EDDIE MURPHY


Those of us who have extensively studied the geneaology and demographics of the civil strife know that the former combatants around President Koroma who were absorbed into the police were none from the WEST SIDE BOYS who terrorised Freetown.

Rather, they were the ones like Akim or Leatherboot. Latter was based in Kailahun RUF HQs and helped craft the Lome Peace Accord.


President Koroma does not have a single WEST SIDE BOY in his entourage. If the country is looking for the WEST SIDE BOYS who invaded Freetown, let them look at Maada Bioís convoy and they will see the likes of Timberland, Shawalawalay, Amza and others.


Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Police Headquarters has Tuesday 9th October 2012, officially confirmed to Awareness Times that they are investigating a matter of unlawful detention and kidnap of Elhadji Saliou Ndiaye, a French-speaking foreign journalist from Europe's Africa-24 television, who was forcibly taken off the streets by black-clad members of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and dragged against his will into a room at the SLPP Headquarters in Freetown where he was allegedly subjected to torture, beating and theft of his money and properties.


Officer in charge of Operations at the Central Police Station, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Bangura has explained of how he was told by Sheikh Bawoh, the Vice-President of Sierra Leone Association of Journalists who is also one of the chief propagandists for SLPP under his editorship of GLOBAL TIMES, that the captured journalists were being ďinterrogatedĒ following which the officer went for reinforcement but upon his return, he met the journalist had by then been released.


Meanwhile, Sheikh Bawoh has now confessed that he received the stolen items from the SLPP hierarchy following which he handed them over the next day to the poor victim of the SLPPís kidnap exercise.


The incident took place on Monday 8th October 2012, during the reveling of the SLPPís Nomination of its presidential and parliamentary candidates. The SLPP has not yet issued a statement but one of their executives accepted the journalist was ďheld against his willĒ but insisted the journalist was ďnot kidnappedĒ.


Elhadji Ndiaye is assigned from Africa-24 television from his home in Paris France so as to cover the various Elections Observer Missions as well as the November Elections itself.


Awareness Times met Elhadji Ndiaye at his hotel in the West of Freetown where we realized that he does not speak English but only French. He declined to give a formal interview to the media and his Sierra Leonean counterpart who was with him, explained that he had been advised by the police to stay quiet and allow them to do their investigations.


However, we were able to learn from his colleague that the victim had been standing with his colleague on Wallace Johnson Street right at the site of the demolished City Hall doing filming of the revelries with his video camera, when the SLPP members, all dressed in black-black and behaving in an arrogant manner, approached them and questioned them on what was the teamís purpose of videoing them.


The journalist reportedly replied telling the black-clad SLPP members that he is a foreign journalist and showed his ID card. Despite this show of his identity, because he was standing with someone believed to be a relative of ruling APC party Spokesman Alhaji Alpha Khan, the thugs accused him of being a spy sent by Alpha Khan.


They paid less attention to what he was saying and they rushed at him and tried to snatch his camera from him to remove his recording material. Upon his resistance to hand them the camera, they forcibly frog-marched him into the SLPP Headquarters where they kept him in unlawful detention in a room somewhere inside the SLPP compound for over five hours. During this period, his I-Pod, mobile phones, digital camera, press Identification Card and money were forcefully taken off him. There is also allegation that they used sticks tagged with nails and their belt buckles to beat the victim. The police say they are investigating allegations and declined to directly comment on veracities.


Meanwhile, the relative of Alpha Khan who was also abducted by the SLPP into their headquarters, is currently hospitalized as he was seriously injured.


Amazing to many citizens is the fact that SLAJ did not issue any statement to denounce the kidnap against his will of a journalist on duty. Rather, SLAJ President Umaru Fofana wrote on the internet yesterday that as long as the affected journalist claimed ďnothingĒ was done to the manís life, there was no need for SLAJ to issue a statement to denounce the forceful taking of a journalist off the streets, against his will into the SLPP headquarters. He confirmed that he spoke to the victim on the phone whilst he was in detention at the hands of the SLPP but yet still SLAJ has not condemned the kidnap of a journalist off the streets.


It can be recalled that SLAJ was very speedy to give flesh to an illegal suspension of Awareness Times.


ďCurrently under Umaru Fofana, SLAJ endorses illegal muzzling of the independent media, supports interference with freedom of journalists to do their duty and turns a blind eye when foreign journalists are detained unlawfully by political party thugs. SLAJ has gone to the dogs. To the dogs. Totally to the dogs!Ē wrote Mr. Salim H. Kargbo on Facebook last evening.


Indeed, this country has to be wary! With West Side Boys kidnapping foreign journalists and dragging them to the opposition headquarters as Umaru Fofana's SLAJ turns a blind eye, we need to be wary. These are dangerous times for poor journalists in Sierra Leone.

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

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