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Chief confirms Mokanji ‘massacre’

By Victoria Saffa

Town chief of Njagbahun village in the Lower Banta Chiefdom, Moyamba District has confirmed the death of five innocent people who were allegedly mistaken to be rebels during the height of the country’s civil war. Pa Baimba Dauda was testifying during a bonfire organized by Fambul Tok on March 20 at Njagbahun village.

According to the mother of one of those that was brutally killed by the Sierra Leone Army, Jeneba Kpeika, her son was accused by one Pa Sesay of being a rebel. She testified that Pa Sesay, who was very influential then, took the name of her son to the soldiers who were stationed at Mokanji. She said immediately after that, soldiers started hunting the man, who was captured, dragged to their base and eventually shot dead.

Another witness, Joe Blake, narrated how their brother was accused by Pa Sesay and was later beheaded. Other villagers trooped to the bonfire to give evidence of Pa Sesay’s treachery during the war.

However, Pa Sesay denied all the allegations, insisting that he was not responsible for the said killings as alleged. He even named one Chief Baimba Dauda as a witness.

There was standing ovation when Chief Baimba moved forward to give evidence. Everyone at the ceremony paid rapt attention to him as he took the podium. He confirmed that indeed Pa Sesay played a role in the death of the five people and urged him to apologize to relatives of the deceased in the spirit of reconciliation.

Pa Sesay, who had earlier denied the allegations, apologized saying since everyone has accused him of the act, he would not continue to defend himself.

“Even the chief has stated that I was responsible [for the five people’s death]; everybody seems to be pointing accusing fingers at me, so I have no option but to apologize,” he said.

Another perpetrator, commonly known as Vamboi, was accused of cutting-off the ear of a man called Lappia before the latter was slaughtered in Mokanji.

Vamboi did not deny the allegation and instead conceded that he indeed slashed the ear of Lappia.

He told the meeting that he decided to cut-off Lappia’s ear in frustration after hitting his foot on a stump while searching for him. “I was very angry for paining my foot, and when we eventually captured him, I decided to chop off his ear,” he confessed. “I then forced him to chew his ear before he was killed.”

The two men apologized and asked for forgiveness.