January 12, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The Head of Crime Management at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Sierra Leone Police has confirmed the arrest of a police officer who is reportedly a bodyguard to former Chairman and Leader of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), John Oponjo Benjamin (JOB).
The unnamed officer is the alleged shooter of a supporter of flag bearer aspirant of the opposition party, Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, at the precinct of the Law court on Monday, 9th January.
Chief Superintendent Mohamed B. Kamara said in a snap interview with Concord Times at the CID Headquarters in Freetown yesterday that they have asked the said police officer to hand over his gun for inspections, while they continue with their investigations.
“It is true that the said personnel [sic] is officially attached to Mr. John Benjamin. He has already made an official statement to the police regarding the incident. The only bottleneck now is that the lady who was alleged to have been shot by the said police officer is yet to make a statement to the police. I went to the hospital myself to obtain statement from her but she told me that she is still in pain and could not make statement at the moment. It is an investigation we are taking seriously like any other crime,” assured Chief Supt. Kamara.
Meanwhile, some officers at the CID who preferred not to be named opined that it was highly likely that Mr. Benjamin would be invited for questioning especially as the said officer was directly attached to him before the incident.
However, Mr. Benjamin has vehemently denied knowledge of the incident, nothing in an interview with our reporter that he in fact out of town when the incident took place.
He said: “Prince [Harding] and others should find a better way to investigate this shooting and not to cast aspersions on me regarding that ugly incident.’’
On Monday, 9th January, an unknown gunman who had apparently joined scores of SLPP protesters around the Law Courts Building on Siaka Stevens Street in Freetown allegedly shot one Alfreda Yeama Kassay on the foot.
While a battery of lawyers and party executives were assembled in court, rival supporters of the party gathered outside chanting slogans, with Ms. Kassay being one of the placard-holding protesters.
In an interview on her hospital bed, she promised to make a statement today at the CID, adding that she can identify the person who shot her on that fateful day. “I will be there tomorrow with my lawyer to make a statement,” she said.