Alhassan Kamara faces death threat
Alhassan Kamara, a staunch supporter of the All People’s Congress (APC) party could have been trapped and subjected to serious political castigation if it was not fortunate for him to be out of Sierra Leone attending the Commonwealth Games in Australia. (Photo: Alhassan Kamara – a victim of political harassment and intimidation)
Kamara, whose family members were recently molested in Kono as a result of political intimidation is presently on the run as desperate SLPP vigilantes are hunting him for certain utterances they allegedly stated he made against the newly elected President of the country Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. .
Sierra Leone which recently held general elections has got a fair share post-election violence as supporters of APC which lost power to the ruling SLPP have been intimidated and even beaten.
It is on record that over 2000 APC supporters residing in Kono, said to belong to the Temne tribe, were forced to flee from the district and sought refuge at Masingbi town in the Tonkolili District. They were hosted by Paramount Chief Kanagbarrow . Among them was the family of Alhassan Kamara whose house and business place in Kono were burnt down by irate vigilante members said to belong to the SLPP.
Political violence and intimidation have become topical in the small West African state since, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio,a former coup plotter was declared as President after the March 31st Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
Bio who contested the election under the ticket of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party has been accused by members of his party as someone who is violent, an allegation which he has refuted on both local and international media.
However, reports coming from different parts of the country state that APC supporters have been subjected to political intimidation and some even killed.
The intimidation is mostly rife in the strongholds of the SLPP . The South and East of Sierra Leone are considered to be strongholds of the SLPP and those areas have a considerable number of Mende tribesmen most of whom are 95% SLPP .
In an interview with family members of Kamara at the Masingbi camp where those who fled from political violence, most of them informed this medium that their “son”, Alhassan Kamara who is presently in Australia representing Sierra Leone, through the Athletics Association is wanted dead or alive because he is an active and prominent APC supporter. His safety, according to them, has got them worried especially as he is the breadwinner of the family. Their worry now is that as the situation stands, it is not advisable for him to return home.
Speaking on behalf of the SLPP Government, Abu Bakarr Joe Sesay told journalists that his party is worried about the spate of political intimidation and harassment unleashed against APC supporters. “We have advised our supporters from harassing and intimidating people and we want our supporters to understand that supporters of APC are also Sierra Leoneans, ” Sesay told local and international journalists.
Kamara who is presently in Australia is worried and is very much fearful of returning back to his country based on intelligence that he is a wanted man.
Civil Society Organization as well Religious Bodies have all condemned the political violence that is meted on APC supporters.
Valnora Edwin , Coordinator for Campaign for Good Governance called on the leadership of the SLPP and as well the President to come out and strongly denounce violence. “Political violence will not only stop with Press Releases,” she said.
She maintained the view that the President must come out and talk to his people otherwise if this situation continues Sierra Leone will remain to be in chaos.
Head of Police Media, Superintendent Ibrahim Samura called on political parties to talk to their supporters and calm them down. He noted that political violence in the country is largely perpetrated by SLPP and APC members resulting sometimes to the loss of lives. “We must stand firm and try our best to talk to supporters,” he admonished adding that the Police is more concern about the protection of life and property.
In Kenema District, which happens to be a stronghold of the SLPP, supporters of the APC, considered to be northerners were asked to leave the district. The same situation has been reported in other districts which are considered to be strongholds of the SLPP. APC supporters are presently living in fear because their lives under threat.
Diplomatic Mission and Agencies like the US Embassy, British High Commission have all come out with statements condemning political intimidation and violence.
Submitted by: Times Newspaper, Sierra Leone
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