From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
Presidential Photographer Stabs Journalist in Sierra Leone
By Theophilus S. Gbenda, Arnold Akibo Betts & Augustine Samba
May 15, 2009, 10:49

Sitta Turay, Editor­In­Chief of the New People Newspaper, was yesterday evening stabbed in the head following an accusation by a presidential photographer, simply identified for now as Alimamy, that he (Sitta Turay) is the one being "used" by Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden, Publisher of the Awareness Times Newspaper, to defame President Ernest Bai Koroma.

Sitta Turay was busy performing his official functions inside the 33 Bathurst Street offices of New People when Alimamy surfaced with two other thugs including the son of the Minister of Information & Communication, I.B. Kargbo Jr (aka Junior Kargbo) and started pointing fingers right into Sitta Turays face and throwing all manner of invectives at him.

As Alimamy was shouting above his voice, another All Peoples Congress (APC) fanatic simply known for now as Tunde, materialized at the scene holding a Guinness stout bottle in his hands.

Without asking any question, Tunde joined in and like Alimamy, rained insults on Sitta Turay and promised to teach him the lesson of his life. It was in the middle of that assault and insult that the presidential photographer ordered Tunde and the others to "kill" Sitta Turay and in response Tunde smashed the bottle that he was holding right onto Sittas head. The other unidentified person was trying to stab at his Jugular vein when Sitta resisted and managed to free himself from them but in the process he suffered a deep cut in the head just by his throat.

Mr. Turay went unconscious as a result of the stabbing and was rushed to the Connaught Hospital for emergency treatment. Mr. Turay received 10 stitches.

Reports indicate that while Mr. Sitta Turay was being rushed to the hospital, Tunde kept boasting that nothing will come out of the matter. He is said to have gone to the extent of threatening to burn down the New People offices at 33 Bathurst Street from where he promised to have people also bring down the Awareness Times offices.

Meanwhile, the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Umaru Fofanah who arrived at the hospital moments after the incidence, expressed anger over the stabbing of Journalist Sitta Turay, saying the Association is not going to treat the matter lightly.

He noted that the Association will catalog all acts of violence against journalists by APC party stalwarts and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), and that at the end of the year a comprehensive report will be published in effect. Sitta later told this media that he had been getting death threats since the early hours of the same day and that he called the SLAJ president to make his complaint. He went on to state that Mr. Umaru Fofanah has asked him to forward a formal complaint to the Association so that proper action would be taken.

It could be noted that the New People earlier this week carried a front page story captioned "For writing about Arabella Foray, Ernest Bai Koroma threatens journalists" in which the paper reported on the planned SEDITIOUS LIBEL charges against this media which exposed the false portrayal of Arabella Foray to the people of Kailahun as the First Lady of the Republic.

This medium stands firmly by our position that the article was in the interest of the Public especially the poor people of Kailahun who were deceived into preparing to receive a woman of no State significance as the First Lady of the Republic.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.