From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Photo News
Photographs of Sierra Leone's Yenga taken for the first time in 17 years
By Awareness Times
Nov 5, 2011, 20:23

Today Saturday November 5th 2011, marked a unique day in the ongoing Yenga debacle between Sierra Leone and Guinea as, for the very first time in over 17 years, a Sierra Leonean journalist was allowed into Yenga all the way down to the Moa River banks where photographs were allowed to be taken of Guinean soldiers.
 
Accompanied by a high-powered police delegation from the Police Division in war-devastated Koindu, Sierra Leoneís award-winning journalist Sylvia Olayinka Blyden was amazingly able to persuade the usually belligerent Guinean soldiers to take photographs with her and her team of journalists.
 
It can be easily recalled that for the last 17 years, attempts by anyone to take photographs inside Yenga had been met with very stiff resistance from the Guinean soldiers forcibly stationed there.
 
Infact, a diplomatic furore had occurred five years ago (in 2006) when a United Nations team had been subjected to physical assault when it attempted to take photographs inside Yenga. The U.N. personnel had fled for their lives but not without the Guinean soldiers first breaking the limbs of the journalist who had accompanied the U.N. team.
 
This is all the more reason why the police officers who accompanied Sylvia Blyden to the waterfront and who had warned that all cameras were to be kept out of sight, are still left in a state of amazement as to just how she was able to convince the Guineans to meekly agree to take photographs with her.
 
We will upload more exclusive photos of our trip to Yenga shortly. Meanwhile, down below are a few pictures of todayís historic day.
 
The road to Guinean-Occupied Yenga

Awareness Times Augustine Samba poses with the oldest resident of Yenga

Dr. Sylvia Blyden with the Town Chief of Yenga, Tamba Nyuma and the Town Chairlady Kumba Bockarie

Some of the homes in Yenga. The place has been all but abandoned except for a handful of residents who can bear to live under Guinean bondage

Sylvia Blyden and the Commandant right on the Moa (Makona) River Banks. This is the first time in over 17 years for Guinean soldiers to allow photographs to be taken let alone pose with journalists

The Historic Photo of November 5th 2011 showing award-winning journalist Sylvia Blyden with two Guinean soldiers right inside Yenga on the Banks of the Moa (Makona) River and also showing Awareness Times journalists Paul Lamin (extreme right) and Augustine Samba (second from left)

The Guinean Armoured Tanker which was destroyed and burnt down by RUF rebels over a dozen years ago. It is one of the keys to the continued occupation of Yenga by Guinean soldiers. The full story of Yenga and this Guinean Tanker will be published as soon as possible.



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