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NEWS : Politics  

Sierra Leone Opposition Commemorates ďMarch 23rdĒ with Intra-party Violence
By Augustine Samba & Other Correspondents
Mar 25, 2013, 12:14
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ďStabbing OvationĒ
at Start of NEC Meeting

To the utter dismay of ordinary party members and senior hierarchy of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), bodyguards of the partyís defeated former flagbearer, Mr. Maada Bio, on Saturday 23rd March 2013, publicly beat up and stabbed the partyís elected National Young Generation Secretary General, Mr. Jaiah Melvin Sundufu Koroma. March 23rd is a day of huge significance to the country trying shed image of its violent past.


It was on March 23rd 1991 that the first shots were fired to kick off what was to become a violent and abhorrent war of a kind never before seen.


Meanwhile, the dramatic attack on Jaiah Sundufu happened right on the stage in the presence of the following persons who appeared to be too scared to do anything as their party thugs performed wonders on an elected official: Dr. Sama Puawui Banya (former Party Chairman), Alhaji U.N.S. Jah (former Party Chairman) alongside dozens of other prominent party members including Hon. Manso Dumbuya, former SLPP flagbearer contestants and other very senior party functionaries who all watched the beating but were too scared to stop it even as blood copiously flowed from the victims skull on to the ground of the conference hall on the top floor of the partyís offices at Lightfoot Boston Street in Freetown.


The attack happened as the second highest decision making body of the SLPP, the National Executive Council (NEC) was about to commence a scheduled meeting inside the Conference Hall of the party headquarters in Freetown.


Jaiah Melvin Sundufu: His blood flowed all over his party offices; a party he has faithfully served for over 17 years now


The victim was in serious pain at the Connaught Hospital when Augustine Samba of Awareness Times went to interview him. He said he was beaten up with metal and chairs all over his body. He explained that he was recently informed by unknown callers that they were going to kill him because he was referring to the defeated Julius Maada Bio as ďour former flagbearerĒ.


ďSeveral times I have received calls from people threatening to kill me. I have informed the media and party members about it and today the action to kill me has started taking place right inside my own party office; a party I have faithfully served for over seventeen years,Ē the young man lamented.


In pool of blood, Jaiah Sundufu Koroma explained that at an executive meeting of Friday 22nd March 2013 preceding the NEC meeting of Saturday, it was unanimously agreed upon how the sitting arrangements should be done with all former presidential and vice-presidential candidates to be seated together.


ďThe National Executive assigned the task of writing the names of personalities at their places under the command of Hon. Manso Dumbuya which I was doing quite obediently as instructed,Ē Jaiah Sundufu explained.


ďI had just finished the placement cards for one set of personalities when one Kabeneh Kallon, a strong supporter of Mr. Bio and a close ally of SLPP Bo District Chairman, Mr. Kanja Sesay walked up to the stage and started insulting me as having written Maada Bioís name to sit down with Solomon Berewa, Tejan Kabbah and Joe Demby instead of up on the High Table with John Benjamin,Ē Jaiah lamented.


Jaiah Sundufu said he ignored Kabeneh and continued taking instructions from Hon. Manso Dumbuya as to what he should do but it appears they (Bioís PA.O.PA supporters) mobilised themselves and Kabeneh restarted the insult of his person but this time he firmly gripped Jaiahís lips with his fingers. According to Jaiah, on the verge of removing Kallonís fingers, four other body guards and supporters of Mr. Bio joined in and using metal chairs, they seriously pounded on his entire body and head to the full view of those seated inside the room.


ďThe continuous beating with the metal chairs on my head by one Alpha who is a Brother-In- Law to Kanja Sesay and a close bodyguard to Maada Bio is what caused the stabbing,Ē he cried.¬†¬†¬†¬†


The young man said, what frustrated him most was that 80% of the attendants who doubled as big guns were now in the hall but appeared to be too scared to stop Maada Bioís thugs until he had to escape from the beating and run for his life towards Sama Banya, U.N.S. Jah and others seated in the conference hall thinking they would step in but that they did nothing even when they saw all the blood flowing from him.


Jaiah said he then ran downstairs with blood flowing copiously from his head on to the steps from the conference room on the top floor down to the chairman and leaderís office on the next floor.


ďMy blood was all over the place. They shed my blood right inside the party office; right inside there they shed my bloodĒ he lamented.


He continued that upon going down, he met John Benjamin with former Vice-President Joe Demby and explained to them the violence he had been subjected to and ďthey both saw all the blood and the woundsĒ.


He latter proceed to make a statement at the police.


He said the police seeing his terrible and bloody condition, referred him to the Connaught Hospital where he was given several stitches and medications for the pains he was feeling.


He further alleged that the attackers grabbed his three mobile phones and all the physical cash on his person amounting to US$1,800 which was his per diem allowance for a conference he should be attending in Ghana this week.


The victim also disclosed that based on the advise of the police doctor, he has undertaken an X-Ray examination of his skull and should receive the results this morning.


Meanwhile, the newspaper can confirm that the Central Police Division in Freetown is investigating the matter.


On to press time, we contacted several senior members of the party as well as the alleged attackers of Jaiah but could not reach them as they were all attentive in the NEC meeting.


Given the significance of the violence on March 23rd, the anniversary of the commencement of our countryís violent civil war, it is expected by many Sierra Leoneans that Alhaji Kanja Sesay and Julius Maada Bio would come out openly to condemn and distance themselves from the violence their henchmen perpetuated right inside the SLPP offices. They are yet to do so as the whole country awaits to hear their thoughts on this March 23rd incident.

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

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