Police ‘drag feet’ to charge perpetrators
May 11, 2018 By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma
Exactly 40 days today, some journalists were attacked and brutalised by then ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) goons – Sanusi Bruski Kargbo, Hebert George Williams, Abu Bakarr Daramy and Mohamed Washingai Mansaray.
On 31st March 2018, as Sierra Leoneans came out to vote peacefully in the presidential runoff election, the APC goons, in a convey of vehicles, aided and abetted by members of the security forces, attacked and brutalised journalists in and around Lumley and Mafa Field area in Freetown.
Patrick Jaiah Kamara of Concord Times, Ibrahim Samura of New Age newspaper and Thomas Dixon, Editor of Salone Times were savagely attacked as they went about doing their legal and lawful job – covering the election.
These APC goons were patrolling from one polling station to the other, intimidating voters and attacking anyone they perceived as opponents.
They attacked our reporter Patrick Jaiah Kamara, who was in the company of two colleagues – Abu-bakarr Sheriff and Ishamael Sallieu Koroma – as the trio arrived at the Mafa field, where voting had stopped for about an hour, apparently because the goons were causing mayhem in a bid to disrupt voting.
The savage attack by Bruski, Herbert and their hired thugs left the young reporter with a swollen cheek, black and reddish eye, while a professional camera he was carrying was damaged. He also lost a digital recorder and money in the process.
Patrick made a statement at the Lumley Police Station on the same day (31st March) and went for medical treatment at the Connaught hospital. He has since been seeing an eye specialist at the Connaught hospital every week after that ugly incident.
Although our reporter and his colleagues who witnessed the unprovoked attack have made statements to the Police at Lumley, it is pretty obvious that they latter are dragging their feet to bring the perpetrators to book.
One of the attackers, the disgraced former Mayor of Freetown, George Herbert Williams, made a belated statement to the police following pressure from the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and this newspaper.
The investigating officer, Superintendent John Sesay, told this medium last week that he had obtained statement from Herbert, but that Bruski has reportedly fled the country, adding that they would soon issue an arrest warrant for him.
Superintendent Sesay refused to disclose to this medium on what condition Herbert Williams was granted bail, while he couldn’t state definitively whether in fact an arrest warrant has been issued for fugitive Bruski, more than five weeks after the incident.
When Concord Times contacted Superintendent Sesay yesterday, he blamed the court for the delay in signing the warrant for the fugitive, although he had given the impression two weeks ago that the warrant had been prepared.
The umbrella journalist association, SLAJ, has condemned the attacked and expressed disappointment in the snail pace of the investigation.
On World Press Freedom Day, May 3, SLAJ President Kelvin Lewis noted that the “Sierra Leone Police are dragging their feet in bringing the APC culprits to book”
Lewis added: “When under the APC, complaints were made against journalists against by APC officials this same police were very quick to arrest, detain and punish journalists. Now when journalists are beaten up the same police are dragging their feet in bringing the perpetrators to book. The law should be to apply to everyone and the police must stop being selective in applying justice.”