From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Sierra Leone Police Boss Panics Over UN-backed Rape Inquiry
By the Full Awareness Team
Apr 7, 2009, 17:20

The Sierra Leone Police Chief, Brima Acha Kamara has yesterday Monday April 6th 2009, hastily convened an emergency press briefing in what has been widely perceived to be a panic response to a Statement issued from the United Nations Headquarters in New York that endorses for an independent non-police investigation into the violence and rapes that reportedly occurred inside the Opposition Headquarters under the supposedly ‘watchful’ eyes of the local police officers.

The Police usually have a normal Press Briefing every Tuesday which day is today. However, Acha Kamara has been seen by many observers to have been too urgent to pre-empt the much anticipated UN-backed independent investigation. This was why he could not wait just 24 hours for today, Tuesday to arrive before he hastily summoned local journalists to inform them of what he alleged to be the Police findings so far on the Rape allegations.

Interestingly, the Police Chief conveniently forgot to invite anyone from Awareness Times Newspaper to cover his hasty press briefing. This has led to even heightened suspicions about a lack of genuine motive behind the hasty press briefing. When queried, the Police Spokesman, Inspector Samura speaking on behalf of his boss, informed that they "forgot" the telephone numbers of Awareness Times. It should be noted that Awareness Times sends complimentary copies for all senior police officers at Police Headquarters. Each edition is delivered to their individual office doors and each copy has the paper’s contact details boldly imprinted on it. However, despite all of this, Police Headquarters "forgot" to invite this critical press to the Police Chief’s emergency press briefing. Reporters are of the opinion that the Police Boss might not have wanted to subject himself to tough questions from this press house as he made his ‘revelations’ which we are reproducing below as reported over the air waves.

Meanwhile, the Statement by the UN’s Peacebuilding Commission Country-specific Configuration on Sierra Leone clearly supports the call for an independent investigation into the sexual and other violence that occurred at the Opposition Headquarters. It calls on the international world to give the fullest support possible to get to the bottom of the matter.

"The Peacebuilding Commission’s country-specific configuration on Sierra Leone encourages the international community to provide the necessary assistance for the follow-up to the Joint Communiqué and to support the facilitation efforts of UNIPSIL in this regard," the Statement went.

Within one hour of New York issuing out the Statement that endorsed the call for a non-police investigation into the rapes, the Police Chief was reported to become jittery leading to him calling an unprecedented Press Briefing hosted by himself; just to denigrate and denounce the women who allege they were raped; as if as Police Boss he had nothing else worthy to do than to reportedly call journalists to go and listen to him insulting allegedly raped women that they were liars and no-one raped them.

As far as the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is concerned, all what the Police has done yesterday was simply a "pre-emptive move" to interfere with the upcoming investigations but as the Deputy Opposition Leader Dr. Kadi Sesay clearly stated, "it is too late now; the ball is already rolling and no-one can stop our determination for justice".

Similarly, the National Women’s Leader of SLPP, Mrs. Isata Jabbie Kabbah (IJK) has yesterday said that "the Police Inspector General has exposed his ineptitude, inefficiency, ineffectiveness and biasness". She was reacting to the statement made by the Police IG, Brima Acha Kamara, during yesterday’s press briefing held at the George Street Headquarters of the SLP, in which the IG presented reports of preliminary investigations undertaken by the Family Support Unit (FSU) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the SLP.

At the briefing in question, Brima Acha Kamara alleged that their investigations so far indicate that "no rape took place" during the two attacks on the SLPP Headquarters. The Police IG told pressmen that out of the six women alleged to have been raped at the SLPP, only one has stated that she can identify her perpetrators. He also alleged that the police are yet to have any witness to collaborate the allegations made by the alleged rape victims, adding that "the reports of the Rainbow Center at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) also have no evidence of rape".

IJK affirmed that the SLPP, as a party, had long since lost its confidence in the police under Acha Kamara’s leadership. She alleged that the police were part and parcel of the mayhem unleashed on the SLPP Headquarters and its supporters. "The SLPP will not recognize any investigation report issued by the police, as the whole incident was supervised by them," IJK pointed out, adding that "It was due to this fact that the SLPP as a party has called for an independent investigation, whose outcome will be welcomed by the general membership".

According to IJK, the evidences are glaring that the police supervised the March 13 and 16 attacks, stating that one only need to watch the videos of that attack and prove her assertions correct.

She further exposed that the Police IG had earlier publicly acknowledged that rape took place on the Monday in question, in his recent statement alleging that "the rape which took place was perpetrated not at the SLPP Headquarters but at a private residence of a member of the SLPP". IJK questioned thus: "How can this same Police IG, who had earlier acknowledged a rape incident now say the contrary". Acha Kamara, she continued, had since prejudice what IJK referred to as "Their so called investigation". She further accused the IG as being a disrespecter of women, whilst noting that no woman will pronounce herself as a rape victim, if she is not raped.

She used the forum as an opportunity to inform this press that the SLPP Women’s Wing will today Tuesday 7th April set up a counseling committee for the rape victims and their relations. She stated that most of the victims are presently stigmatized, with others losing their friends and loved ones.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.