From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Photo News
Our SLAJ President, Umaru Fofana Calls this Man an “ALLEGED” Maada Bio Supporter?? (PHOTO NEWS ANALYSIS)
By Bampia Bundu
Feb 11, 2011, 15:51

The name Rex Benya is known to be a very strong supporter of the Sierra Leone peoples Party SLPP and one of the more notorious Maada Bio’s Supporters. His regular presence around Maada Bio is something not to write home about. What I can safely say is that Maada Bio will not deny that Rex Benya is one of his trusted aides who are always around him. Benya travels with Maada Bio to virtually all of Bio's meetings in Freetown and the Provinces and even represents him in some stakeholders' meetings where he has been known to speak on behalf of the SLPP aspirant.


On the 22nd December 2010, Rex Benya and another of Maada Bio supporters (Foday Yansaneh), beat me up at Law Courts Building in Freetown because they identified me as Awareness Times journalist; in the presence of my colleague journalists; namely Artwah Maddie of For-Di-People Newspaper, Dauda Koroma of Awareness Times and Solomon Kalokoh of African Champion Newspaper. The beating was also witnessed by Female Police Inspector E.I.M.May attached to the Law Courts. She probably saved my life.


This is Rex Benya, the thug who helped Foday Yansaneh to beat me up inside Law Courts

This matter was reported to Sierra Leone Association of Journalist (SLAJ) for their assistance in getting justice for me and it was also reported at the Central Police Station. At the latter, the complaint has been escalated from the female police officer handling it, up to a senior police officer and now is at an impasse.

If the Sierra Leone Police is to spend 8 weeks investigating this matter, it was not so painful as when I read the recent Press release from SLAJ referring to my issue as if Rex Benya is an "alleged" Maada Bio Supporter just so as to cushion Bio from the incident. It is not a secret that both Rex Benya and Foday Yansaneh are supporters of Maada Bio because as far as my memory can serve me I have seen Rex Benya and Maada Bio on several occasions driving inside the same vehicle. It is also an open secret that Maada Bio usually consult Rex Benya on some issues Bio may want to undertake.


Mr. Rex Benya shown walking one step ahead of Maada Bio as he raises his hand to clear the way into Mabella. Bio walks right behind Rex Benya’s guidance with a huge satisfied smile on Bio’s face.

Maada Bio is shown as he confides something to Mr. Rex Benya as the two men walked into Mabella where they took their VIOLENCE!

Our President of SLAJ, Umaru Fofana, is already being strongly accused of being one of the secret advisers of Maada Bio and so for the SLAJ Press Release to downplay the status of Rex Benya from a known supporter of Maada Bio to one of an 'alleged' supporter is pretty sad for a young journalist like me who holds my President of SLAJ in high esteem.

It is because of this esteem in which I hold our President of SLAJ that I am writing this piece to alert SLAJ and the general public that contrary to the SLAJ Press Release (on Page 11 of today's edition), Rex Benya and Foday Yansaneh are not 'alleged Maada Bio supporters' but well known as notorious supporters of the said aspirant.

I was present in Court during the Sisko versus Raymond Adams criminal case and trust me that these men were very loudly boasting of their support and loyalty to Bio. They boastfully revealed that they are hard core sympathizers of Maada Bio. Just few days after such boasts to the hearing of many people, the same men publicly beat me up in the name of Maada Bio and so I can not understand how these men, notorious as being part of Maada Bio retinue can now be down-graded to "alleged supporters" by SLAJ President.


Maada Bio and Rex Benya arrive at residence of APC Strongman, Mabella Chief. They are both walking Side by Side (Man Marking) with a Djamba symbol flag flying high over Maada’s head by an aide

A Bird’s Eye view of the above scene. Note the Djamba flag flying...

Therefore, I want to use the opportunity to call on SLAJ to ensure that they immediately publicise the Committee Report which as of now, is still held as a Secret Document; not even made available to other SLAJ Executive members. This is a blight on the integrity of SLAJ as it has been about 2 months now since this issue of me being beaten up was reported to them.

If anyone has any doubts about whether or not my molester who beat me up is indeed a key member of the Maada Bio campaign, then the photos on this page should seal those doubts. These are photographs of Rex Benya leading Maada Bio in to Mabella Community to attend a meeting last week Friday 4th February 2011.

I still have some confidence in the SLAJ President and I am convinced that he will soon finalize the release of the investigations so that the public will know the facts about the type of man that Maada Bio is. These are no longer days of Lawless NPRC Military Junta days. These are days of Democratic Law and Order.  # End

Mr. Rex Benya (arrowed) in the middle of one of the scenes of melee and violence in the thick of Mabella during the visit of Maada Bio
 

Mr. Maada Bio shown as he leaves Mabella with Rex Benya (arrowed) shown walking behind Maada Bio. The two of them arrived together and they left Mabella together. Also in photo are Ex-AFRC combatants with nicknames like ‘Timberland’, ‘Van-Damme’ & ‘Eddie Murphy’.


From Mr. Bampia James Bundu

17 Garrison Street, Freetown
22nd December 2010

 

President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalist SLAJ

56 Campbell Street

Freetown

 

Dear Sir,

 

Letter of Complaint against Supporters of Maada Bio


I write to officially report supporters of one of the Aspirants for the Sierra Leone Peoples Party SLPP Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio who have threatened to further deal with me and a supposed list of journalists they say are against Maada Bio becoming the next President of Sierra Leone. This was after they had beaten me up right inside the sacred premises of the Law Courts Building of the Sierra Leone Judiciary.

 

On 22nd December 2010 I went to cover a matter in court, when I learnt that supporters of the aforementioned aspirant Maada Bio were in court for a matter related to violence at the SLPP headquarters. I witness the proceedings at Magistrate Court number 3 presided by Magistrate Bankole Shyllon. The accused person was denied bail and was remanded at the maximum Pademba Road Prison after it was discovered he had no fixed abode and disputed real identity. His colleagues who openly identified themselves as supporters of General Maada Bio left the court unhappy.

 

I also left the court room and whilst trying to adjust my digital camera properly in its strap, from nowhere I saw one huge fellow who was later identified as Mr. Foday Yansaneh and was accompanied by one Mr. Benya rushed at me and buckled up my shirt by the collar whilst using totally unacceptable and unprintable languages on me accusing me of working for Awareness Times newspaper and taking his picture unlawfully.

 

I was extremely frightened and in a state of shock as he rained two blows on my face right inside the court corridors whilst saying, “we know that you are a journalist and you want to take our picture to go and write!”.

 

At this point, other journalists had arrived at the scene and witnessed as the Maada Bio supporters grabbed my camera and twisted my hands.

 

“You people are the ones who have been writing nasty about our leader Maada Bio and today, we will set an example with you. You are going to be the lesson to all the journalists writing against Maada Bio” Foday Yansaneh snarled to the hearing of all passing in the compound.

 

Journalists tried to intervene but yet still Foday Yansaneh got other members of the gang of Maada Bio supporters to forcibly checked the digital camera to see if their picture was inside. Of course, they found not a single shot of them inside but still they held me captive showing that the camera was just an excuse used to beat me up.

 

Other journalists tried to get me released but they were unable to stop the Maada Bio thugs.

 

Had it not been for the intervention of one female Police Inspector who later identified herself to journalists as Inspector E.I.M. May, I should have been hospitalized or dead by now. I thank God for that female police officer as she physically fought with the Maada Bio supporters to remove me from their grip. I am still frightened as my life is at risk because the thug who was later identified as Foday Yansaneh openly threatened to deal with me severely. He said they already have a list of journalists who are against Maada Bio and some of these journalists will “soon be taken care of”.

It is important to note that Brigadier Maada Bio himself had used his Comium phone of 033-455555 to personally call up my Editor, Abdul Karim Fonti Kabia on our office phone line this past Friday December 17th 2010 to make vile and threatening remarks against Fonti Kabia because of an article carried by our newspaper on that day advising him against violent supporters. It is shocking that a Presidential aspirant will place a phone call to try to levy petty insults and threats at a newspaper’s editor. It is even more frightening to think that this man wants to become the next President of Sierra Leone seeing that his supporters are showing us a taste of how they believe journalists should be treated.

I therefore call on SLAJ to take this matter very seriously. We have come a long way for this country to start thinking of going back to the days of military junta men attacking and beating up journalists for criticising their violent acts.

 

Thanks

Bampia James Bundu

National Organizing Secretary of the Sierra Leone Reporters Union(SLRU) and Senior Reporter of Awareness Times News Paper.


Sierra Leone Association of Journalists

1st Floor, 56 Campbell Street, Freetown, Sierra Leone P.M.B. 724,

Website: www.slaj.sl; Email: slaj.salone@gmail.com

 

President: +232 76/77/33 609285,
Ag Secretary-General +232 76 460423/033 533547 

Date: 29 January 2011

 

Press Release


COMMITTEE TO INVESTIGATE ALLEGATIONS
AGAINST MAADA BIO SUBMITS FINDINGS

 

Freetown – The 3-member committee set up by the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists to investigate allegations made by two journalists working for Awareness Times newspaper against an opposition SLPP aspirant, Maada Bio, and someone alleged to be his supporter have submitted their report to the SLAJ President.

 

A SLAJ General Meeting will be convened in the coming days to discuss the report’s findings as well as take necessary steps.

 

The committee, comprising Mr Francis Sowa (Chair), Mr Ismael Koroma (Secretary), Mr Joseph Kapuwa and Mr Theophilus Gbenda, was set up at a General Meeting on 23 December 2010.

 

SLAJ wishes to thank the committee members who used a lot of their time and their individual resources to interview all the sides in the matter and their witnesses at various locations.

 

Signed:

Ismael Koroma

—————————

Ag National Secretary-General

+232 76 460423

+232 33 533547



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