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NEWS : Politics  

Sierra Leone Opposition Wrecks Havoc as Government Media Lags Behind
By Michael T. Kamara and Sylvia Blyden
Nov 9, 2012, 17:18
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In what many at Fourah Bay have described as a dress rehearsal for what the main opposition Sierra Leone People Party (SLPP) supporters are planning to do on Elections Day at Constituency 104, their youthful supporters on the night of Thursday 8th November 2012 at around 23:15GMT, went on the rampage as they stoned the ruling All People Congress (APC) office at Fourah Bay. They also destroyed residences and dwellings of APC party members and supporters.

 

Awareness Times dispatched a team of journalists to the scene and we were there until 5am this morning monitoring developments. According to eye witnesses, the SLPP had a meeting last evening at Fourah Bay and after their meeting, they passed by the APC offices hurling abuses against President Koroma and APC candidates for the ward and constituency. APC members claim that by that time, they had been peacefully dancing to a musical set located in front of their party offices.

Mr. Kanasieu and some of the traumatised women in his house last night

 

Few minutes after this exchange of words, eye witnesses say, the SLPP youths dressed in their green and holding machetes, mobilized themselves and attacked with stones and bottles at the APC office and residences of APC supporters especially a man known as Abdul H. Kanasieu who had some time ago, defected from the SLPP to join the APC. Kanasieu is also a trade unionist who is President of the Sierra Leone Dock Workers Union. His wife and his young baby as well as other vulnerable women in his house were subjected to huge stones raining down on them through their windows.

 

The house and properties of the Vice Chairman for APC constituency 104, Mr. Ibrahim Sesay, the home of Mr. Ibrahim Kamara, personal bodyguard to the APC parliamentary candidate Tunde Lewally and the vehicle of strong APC activist, Mr. Mohamed Savage were ransacked. Savages vehicle windscreen was broken.

Some of the stones & shattered glass on the floor of the Kanasieu residence

 

Many residents of that area disclosed to Awareness Times that they are tired with the bad behaviour of the SLPP party supporters. They are calling on the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to start patrolling in the area to protect them from SLPP harm especially as the elections loom. In January this year, during a local council bye-elections, APC supporters were subjected to unbelievable political violence by SLPP members which had left Lansana Fadika, Abdul Amerikin Lamin, Ibrahim Lewally and others hospitalised with stab wounds.

 

It must be stated we monitored the police to have been vigilant until this morning hours. However, when the first team of armed OSDs arrived on the scene, the place was so chaotic that they had to fire live bullets into the air to scare the stoning youths away from their mission. According to Assistant Superintendent of Police Alphonso A. Fambulleh, the Police had to then call in for more reinforcement after they fired the live bullets in the air.

This bright red van belonging to APC strongman, Mohamed Savage was vandalised and windscreen broken. Huge stones laid on streets

 

The reinforced Police then started hunting down the alleged perpetrators and arrested some of them including the younger brother of SLPP parliamentary candidate, Mr. Carew.  Mr. Aziz Carew himself was not at scene of disturbance but his well known supporters are the ones who were at the helm of the attack.

 

One of the alleged Aziz Carew supporters, who identified himself as Hassan, spoke to Awareness Times whilst he was seated handcuffed in the back of a police truck. He however pled innocence and said he was not a part of the SLPP attackers but had been picked up from his house by the police.

Front door of Ibrahim Kamara, bodyguard to Tunde Lewally was smashed in

 

I was not involved in the attack on APC. I am innocent, he said in tears although he expressed knowldge of what happened. He said it was the APC who first provoked the situation by hurling stones into a meeting they had been holding at a place called Bottom School. Hassan said the stones even damaged the musical set of a hired musician who was playing a nice music of respect for the SLPP presidential candidate, Julius Maada Bio. He claimed that the stoning was the handiwork of Kanasieu and Savage who organised APC youths to stone their meeting. As a result, he said SLPP youths decided to attack APC offices and APC residences but he was not with them by then.

 

Mr. Kanasieu however insisted to Awareness Times that he knew nothing of any stoning of SLPP meeting.Rather, he said, it was APC which was playing songs in praise of President Koroma and APC which popular songs sent SLPP youths berserk causing them to attack the APC offices and his home. He said the attacks were totally unprovoked. He explained that he calmed down the APC youths and advised them to gee SLPP dem road whilst he went to the Police Station to launch a formal complaint against the initial provocation. It was upon his return that he said he met the bunch of SLPP youths holding cutlasses and laying siege to his house with his wife and children inside.

 

The front of the APC offices at Fourah Bay with smashed windows

 

To buttress his argument, he phoned up someone he claimed was the owner of the damaged musical set. The person on the phone claimed SLPP youths damaged his musical set playing APC songs in front of APC offices.

 

According to Kanasieu, the music set had been hired in advance of a planned moonlight picnic slated for tonight in their constituency.

 

Many people in Fourah Bay community confirmed that anytime the SLPP holds a meeting in their area, at the end of it they disturb the peace of other people residing in that area with maternal invectives (mammy cuss) and intimidation.

 

Poor APC & Government Response to Serious Political Allegations

 

It can be recalled that due to the ineptitude of the ruling APC partys media and information machinery, a recent false report that a Fourah Bay resident and SLPP supporter was murdered by the ruling APC, had been left unchallenged. The death of Abdul Rahman Wright had been a domestic dispute between two people living in the same compound leading to one stabbing the other. It was not a politically motivated death.

 

The victim of the stabbing had refused to take proper hospital care because, as the 5-Star General (leader) of the Fourah Bay Hood gang clique, he had been wanted for questioning on another criminal matter by the police but had been dodging them.

A close-up of one of the smashed windows of APC offices at Fourah Bay

 

According to extensive investigations into this matter by this newspaper, it was in fear that he (Wright) might be vulnerable and the police might have easy access to him if admitted in hospital away from the safety of his clique members, that Abdul Rahman Wright had not taken proper medical care in the evening he was stabbed but instead took inappropriate first aid treatment and returned back to his house that night with poor medical care not knowing he was bleeding inside the stab wounds into his abdomen.

 

Abdul Rahman Wright thus slowly bled to death inside his bedroom from the stab wound he suffered at the hands of a man he lived in the same compound with.Contrary to SLPP allegations, the suspect who stabbed Wright, was NOT the bodyguard to an APC parliamentarian. He was on the contrary, known to be mentally unstable to the extent that he would tie only a piece of towel on himself and walk around the streets half naked.

 

All the window panes of Kanasieu residence were smashed

 

The victim and the suspect had both been at loggerheads for domestic issues. On the day in question, the suspect had scolded his wife for greeting the victim. Indeed, whilst the victim was an SLPP supporter, his death had absolutely nothing to do with the APC as a party.

 

However, because the stabbing happened when Wright had just returned from an SLPP rally, the SLPP had latched on to the death and quickly promoted it over the radio and newspapers and the Internet as a politically motivated killing. It was the same propaganda they tried to deploy in the recent Bombali car accident of David Keili which has so horribly boomeranged on them.

All the window panes of Kanasieu residence were smashed3

 

Unfortunately, the ruling APC, in its now usual style of poor public relations, had kept silent and made no effort to debunk the widespread report that the FourahBay death of Wright was a politically planned killing. As a result of the silence from the APC and since nature abhors a vacuum, the SLPPs story of political murder had stuck, unchallenged.

 

The prestigious Carter Center and other elections observers as well as Diaspora based Sierra Leoneans had believed and promoted the theory of a pre-planned politically motivated murder in Fourah Bay. Some folks had even publicly condemned the APC. In all of this, the APC had kept silent.


All the window panes of Kanasieu residence were smashed 2

 

It must be noted that many of the youths who went on the rampage last night, were not only members of the SLPP but also members of the Fourah Bay Hood gang clique of late Abdul Rahman Wright.

 

These are some of the dangers when a ruling party behaves like it is a kindergarten bunch when it comes to speedy responses and important clarifications. Now, the SLPP youths of Fourah Bay are going to use the unchallenged report of APC killing Abdul Rahman Wright as an excuse to perpetuate violence, said a disgusted long time resident of Fourah bay, Mr. Ibrahim Ben Bai-Koroma.

 

An APC office window

 

It is not known when or whether the APC will speedily react to this event of last night or whether the APC will finally use this chance to set the record straight about the unfortunate death of Abdul Rahman Wright.What is however clear is that given the proven penchant of the SLPP to cause violence on Elections days in Fourah Bay, last nights events might just be a dress rehearsal for what is being planned for next week Saturday inside Fourah Bay community.

 

fence leading to an APC supporters house was broken down to allow entry


Ibrahim Kamara personal bodyguard to Tunde Lewally has his door smashed and entire house ransacked

 

Journalist Michael Kamara poses with some of the police officers in the dark


one of the huge cement blocks used by the SLPP youths landed here partly breaking up

 

ransacked home of Ibrahim Kamara


SLPP Aziz Carew residence was untouched and unharmed - all windows intact and surroundings peaceful


Streets of Fourah Bay near APC party offices littered with pock marks were stones slammed down


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

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