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Ataya base chief mourns okada rider’s death

OCTOBER 13, 2014 By Matthew Jabby

Head of the National Union of Ataya Bases (NUAB) in Sierra Leone has told Concord Times that the Union has lost one of its committed members, Alpha Jalloh a.k.a. Cellou Diallo, who died last Thursday after a heavy truck rode on his head while being pursued by traffic police officers along Guy Street, off Krootown Road.

Samuel Ben Turay said the late Jalloh, whose death saw skirmishes between irate bike riders and riot police last Thursday and Friday, was an active member of NUAB – a loose assemblage of youths who drink Chinese tea.

“Jalloh was very active when it comes to Ataya base issues,” Turay revealed, adding that members will miss him as he was a regular at the Krootown Road Ataya base in Freetown.

Meanwhile, the Ataya Base Union chief said his executive and that of the Bike Riders Union have agreed to meet and discuss their next plan of action.

State functionaries, including ministers and their deputies for Youth and Political Affairs, were seen among the protestors and mourners as desperate efforts to placate the aggrieved mourners continued on Friday.

Members of both groups have called on the government to institute an official investigation into the gruesome death of Jalloh and to punish the police officer they say caused the death of their comrade.

Hundreds of youths marched to State House to protest the death of Jalloh last Thursday where they demanded to have audience with President Koroma, who belatedly came out to speak to them. He pleaded for calm and promised an official investigation.

However, that did not prevent further skirmishes with the police on Friday as the corpse of Jalloh was being conveyed for burial at the Kingtom cemetery.

Police had to fire teargas to disperse the agitated crowd around Kingtom Bridge and Krootown Road.