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Prosecution witness narrates how pirates stormed vessel

...robbed crew items worth over Le36m

SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 By Hassan G. Koroma

 

The second prosecution witness, Mohamed Kamara, a fisherman on fishing vessel LIAN RUN 23, yesterday testified in the ongoing piracy matter involving the said vessel, at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2 presided over by Magistrate Komba Kamanda.

Kamara said he recognized the accused persons and recalled on 21st and 22nd July, 2014, while asleep in the cabin, he heard a large burst of gun fire at around midnight and that while fully awake he saw the accused persons locking up the Chinese crew members in the vessel’s manhole.

He said the accused persons later entered the cabin and put everybody under gunpoint, with the first accused – Mohamed Tarawallie – giving orders for his men to ‘shoot and kill’ anyone who refuses to corporate. He said they were all ordered out of the cabin and locked in the manhole together with Chinese crew members.

The witness said the accused returned after 20 minutes and ordered everybody out the manhole, and upon coming out they discovered that the latter had stolen their bags, cartons of fish and assorted items. He said the captain of the vessel then watched the radar and saw the boat used by the pirates sailing off, but the first accused fired some shots at them as their boat sailed past.

He said they made a distress call to the navy who swiftly intervened and apprehended all six pirates as they tried to make their escape. The men were then brought onshore to make statements at the Navy base at Murray Town.

The six accused persons – Mohamed Tarawallie, Alhaji Kargbo, Alusine Mohamed Kamara, Mohamed Conteh, Mohamed Dumbuya and Musa Kabbia – were 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of conspiracy to commit a felony, robbery with aggravation contrary to Section 32(1) of the Larceny Act of 1916, as repealed and replaced by Act No.46 of 1971; wounding and assault, contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.

The prosecution also alleges that the accused persons on the same date of their attack on the said fishing vessel, while being armed with guns and knives, robbed Mohamed Kamara, Stick Bin, Osman Kamara, Alhaji Jadika and Mohamed Dura, and also wounded and assaulted them, and allegedly stole cash and properties worth thirty-six million eight and seventy-five thousand Leones from the fishing vessel LIAN RUN 23.

The matter was adjourned to 12 September.

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