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Widespread political violence and intimidation: Thugs hunt for APC Organizing Secretary

Abu Bakarr Kamara…in hiding

Since the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) won the last elections, there has been widely reported cases of thuggery, intimidation, and harassment meted on some Opposition, All People’s Congress (APC) party, some of which victims’ whereabouts are unknown. Investigations conducted by this press proved that APC supporters who actively took part in the last elections are constantly attacked in the ruling party south-east stronghold. It can be recalled in April this year, a good number of APC supporters were chased with sticks and machetes out of towns and villages in Kono District, eastern Sierra Leone, which the Sierra Leone Police say they are still investigating.

One of the victims that have suffered a lot from SLPP thuggery is Abu Bakarr Kamara, Organizing Secretary for the now opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC). He has not only suffered from being an APC Party Executive Member, but also an Activist on Social Media, who is been accused of sharing defamatory materials against some senior SLPP Officials.

Kamara’s family are now facing the brunt after their house at New Site in Bo District was burned down by SLPP thugs were that were armed with offensive weapons as they went in search of the Social Media Activist.

It can be recalled on 10th January 2018, thugs armed with sticks and knives attacked Kamara and beats him up severely. He has been declared wanted by the leader of the thugs called Arata, who is notorious for attacking those considered as APC supporters in the south.

Abu Bakarr Kamara is reportedly in hiding with a broken leg caused by the SLPP thug, Arata since 10th January 2018. Kamara who reported that he is not safe in Sierra Leone has been persistently attacked with his APC Chairlady who is also missing since they were last attacked on 4th April 2018 when the SLPP won the elections. He left for his hiding place.

In a related issue, the visit of the opposition Party, the All People’s Congress (APC) Party in Tongo Fields, Kenema District (eastern Sierra Leone) in February this year did not go down well with some ruling party officials of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, which has caused some prominent youth not wanting to return to suffer an unforeseen situation.

Abdulrahman Bah was a key figure flying the APC flag in the Eastern part of the country. He was amongst Thousands of supporters dressed in APC T-Shirts that thronged the streets of Tongo Town to welcome the Presidential Candidate of his party. Amidst dancing and singing, Bah and his team showed their love for both the Presidential Candidate and his running mate. Shouting “Tolongbo, All for All” Bah vowed to not only vote for the APC but boasted that he will do all he could to ensure that the APC stays in power.

After the SLPP was declared as winners of the past elections, most APC supporters in Bo, Kenema District, and Kono Districts were under hot waters and irate SLPP youth were desperately searching for them to either kill them or beat them up mercilessly.

Report states that lots of police officers were disarmed, APC supporters mobbed and others like Abu Bakarr Kamara and Abdulrahman Bah who are suspected to have run away for their lives have been declared wanted due to the active role they took in allegedly sharing derogatory stories on social media as a means of discouraging people from voting in the SLPP into governance.

“I don’t think I’ll return to Sierra Leone so soon because of the persistent threat I have been receiving,” says Kamara who failed to name his current location, and added that his Chairlady who was mercilessly beaten managed to escape with some APC supporters and police officers.

“I expected the current government to have provided the required security for Opposition Party Supporters, but it seems as if it is condoning such lawless act especially against APC supporters in its strongholds,” a Human Rights Campaigner, John Koroma said recently.

What has however displeased the APC Organizing Secretary not wanting to return to Sierra Leone was when news broke out recently about the death of the APC Zonal Chairman, Abu Bakarr Kamara as he was attacked and killed by thugs supporting the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). This was revealed by family members of the victim and other witnesses to the incident who spoke to this newspaper.

The Regional Police Commander for Western Freetown AIG Thomas Lahai has confirmed to this newspaper that the Sierra Leone Police is investigating an alleged case of Murder which took place on Saturday 26th May 2018 at Sheriff Drive in Lumley, Freetown. AIG Lahai, however, declined to confirm the details around the murder of the victim Mr. Abu Bakarr Kamara, instead referring this press to the Lumley Police Local Unit Commander who was himself unavailable for comment.

Mr. Franklyn Kamanda, the younger brother of the deceased, in an exclusive chat narrated that his brother Abu Bakarr Kamara, until his brutal killing, was the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) party chairman in that Sheriff Drive Zonal Ward area and was well known by all and loved by many people.

He explained that on Saturday 26th May 2018, Abu Bakarr got a breakdown with his truck at Sheriff Drive. He added that his elder brother went to his house to collect money to do the repairs and walked back to Sheriff Drive to see to fixing up his vehicle. He alleged that Sheriff Drive is a hub for violent thugs of the ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) who usually gathered at the point. He said on several occasions these alleged SLPP thugs have violently attacked people associated with APC or seen wearing APC T-shirts. He said the Police have not been able to stop the violence since the APC lost the presidential elections to the SLPP. He said living in those parts is now hell for APC supporters at the hands of SLPP thugs.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC party, Mr. Cornelius Deveaux confirmed that the APC party has “received the report of the death of Abu Bakarr Kamara who was allegedly killed by supporters of the ruling SLPP government” and that “the APC is waiting for the post-mortem report”. He added that after the post-mortem report, the APC party will make its position and decisions known to the public. He, therefore, called on all APC supporters to remain calm and law-abiding. He added that the latest incidents have caused some party supporters to also flee the country to join those that had previously fled after the Presidential elections.

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