April 3, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Convicted former Mayor of Freetown City Council, Herbert Akieremi George Williams, and Sanusi Bruski Kargbo, an executive member of the All Peoples Congress in the Western, and thugs brutalise journalists covering Sierra Leone’s presidential runoff on March 31.
Bruski whose name has been associated with political violence, gripped our reporter Patrick Jaiah Kamara who was on duty at Mafa field, Regent Road Lumley, and ordered his thugs to torture our reporter, in the full view of security personnel.
The duo, who led about a dozen thugs with vehicles without NEC accreditation, claimed our reporter had photographed them while intimidating voters at the Mafa field polling station.
Williams, who became FCC mayor under the APC ticket in 2007, was convicted of corruption in 2012 which brought to an end his short political career. He also joined Bruski to manhandle and beat our reporter, damaging a Canon EOS 70D camera and dispossessing him of a recorder and money.
Patrick, who was at the scene together with our editor and another reporter, said he sustained internal injury and that his left eye has some visual bruise.
“Bruski and Herbert Williams ordered the thugs under their control to attack and brutalise me. He (Bruski) was the first to rush at me no sooner I arrived at the scene claiming that I have photographed them. I never took any photograph of them, but even if I did, it is within my legitimate right as journalist on duty to take a snap shot,” Patrick said.
Editor of Concord Times Abu-Bakarr Sheriff has condemned the act and called on the ruling party to take punitive actions against their errant members. Sheriff also urged the police to bring the perpetrators to court as soon as possible.
“I condemn this dastardly attack on our reporter by adult men who have a responsibility to keep the peace. I also urge the APC and police to take timely and appropriate punitive action against the duo, who should bow their heads in shame for such brazen and cowardly attack on press freedom,” remarked Sheriff.
Our reporter made an incident report at the Lumley Police Station that same day and was issued with a police medical report form.
On that same day, other journalists were also attacked within the same vicinity, with Bruski mentioned as the ringleader of the attack. Thomas Dixon and Ibrahim Samura of Salone Times New Age newspapers, respectively, also suffered similar fate in the hands of the thugs.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLJJ) has condemned the attacks on the journalists. SLAJ President Kevin Lewis said: “This country belongs to all of us and we all have our respective duties to perform. We cannot this country to be reduced to a jungle.”
The statement adds that the Sierra Leone Police should speedily conclude the investigation into the physical attack of the journalists and bring the perpetrators to book.