By Hassan G. Koroma
One Alhaji Fadika, a fisherman and second prosecution witness in the ongoing piracy case at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2 presided over Magistrate Komba Kamanda, yesterday narrated his ordeal with pirates who stormed and stole property worth millions of Leones from a fishing vessel at sea.
Fadika said he recognized all the accused persons and recalled that on 21st and 22nd July, 2014, while resting in the boat after a long day, he heard a gunshot at around 11:00pm.
He told the court that as he ran to the balcony of the boat to enquire what was happening, he encountered the second accused (Alhaji Kargbo), who hit him with a gun, and he tumbled.
He said he also saw two other men standing, each holding a shovel and stick. He said that while on the floor, he saw the first accused (Mohamed Tarawallie) holding a gun and attempted to hit him, but he scampered into the manhole where one of the accused persons locked the entire crew.
He continued that one of the accused persons subsequently called out for the captain, and that after they had left, they came out of the manhole only to discover that their property had been stolen.
He said the captain of the vessel immediately made a call to one police inspector, and that as they waited for the police to arrive, they sighted the pirates’ boat at around 6:00am. The accused persons, he said, started shooting at their vessel and they were forced to move their vessel until a team of police officers arrived at the scene, arrested the pirates and brought all of them ashore. He said the police issued him a medical paper and later made a statement to detectives.
The accused persons – Mohamed Tarawallie, Alhaji Kargbo, Alusine Mohamed Kamara, Mohamed Conteh, Mohamed Dumbuya and Musa Kabia – are arraigned on nine counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, robbery with aggravation, contrary to section 32(1) of the Larceny Act of 1916, as repealed and replaced by Act No.46 of 1971, wounding and assault, contrary to the law of Sierra Leone.
According to the prosecution, the six men, on 21st and 22nd July, 2014, attacked a fishing vessel ‘LIAN RUN 23’ within the territorial waters of Sierra Leone, and conspired with other unknown persons to commit a felony.
The prosecution also alleges that the accused persons, on the same date, boarded the said fishing vessel, armed with guns and knives, and robbed Mohamed Kamara, Stick Bin, Osman Kamara, Alhaji Jadika and Mohamed Dura, of millions of Leones, as well as assaulted and wounded some of their victims.
The matter continues.