February 22, 2018 By Mohamed Massaquoi
Presidential Candidate of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has confirmed that his motorcade was on Tuesday attacked by members and supporters of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) in Kamalo, Karene district, northern Sierra Leone.
Kamalo is the hometown of APC standard bearer, Dr. Samura Kamara.
A press release dated 21st February,2018 and signed by APC Secretary General Ambassador Osman Yansaneh denies any wrong doing and instead put the blame on the SLPP.
“In Kamalo, SLPP decided to place SLPP campaign materials on structures owned and erected by Dr. Samura Kamara. On being warned against these provocative acts, they moved straight to Samura Kamara’s mother raining insults and tearing posters,” said the release.
But according to Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, the attack was as an ‘assassination’ attempt by the APC.
“I traveled from one village and town to another, including Kambia town, Kitchom and later Kamalo – the home town of the APC presidential candidate, Dr. Samura Kamara. It was the campaign day for my party – the SLPP. Upon our arrival in Kamalo, some people in their APC colours came out in their numbers and started abusing us. As if that was not enough, they physically attacked my motorcade, wounded my supporters, and destroyed my official vehicle and other vehicles. I am actually disappointed because for the past years we have been talking about maintaining the peace and stability of Sierra Leone,” Bio narrated.
He noted that: “The APC presidential candidate has on several occasions visited my regional towns and villages without any hindrance. This singular effort was a clear assassination attempt by APC against me. We have seen a situation where my posters have been removed or even burnt down.”
The former military head of state, who handed over power to a civilian president in 1996, said he prided himself to be a peaceful person and wanted the presidential contest to be peaceful and violence free.
“We have been making reports to the Sierra Leone Police about the consistent violent attacks against me and my people. I am sure the police will conduct proper investigations in order to get to the bottom of these continuous attacks,” he said.
Speaking to Concord Times on mobile phone, APC campaign spokesman and Deputy Minister of Information and Communications, Cornelius Deveaux, averred that the incident started when some Maada Bio supporters insisted on pasting the portrait of their candidate on a private residence.
“Because of their forceful tendency, the youth of Kamalo came to stop them from pasting the pictures of Bio on a private residence. We are very tolerant and we believe in peace and democracy of the country. The APC is against any form of violence. This situation should not have happened if the SLPP would have abided by the rules of campaign,” he said and called on the police for in-depth investigation.
In their press release, the APC strongly condemned violence and ‘unruly’ behaviour of members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party in the birth place of their presidential candidate Dr Samura Kamara.
“As the governing party, the APC remains committed to ensuring peaceful, fair and credible elections. We will not allow the forces of violence to reverse the gains we continue to make in ensuring a peaceful and democratic country,” the release said.