SLAJ condemns attack on Umaru Fofana

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Umaru Fofana says some APC supporters used motherly invectives on him

The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has put out a press release vehemently condemning attacks on one of its former president, Umaru Fofana, by members and supporters of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) during the party flag-bearer’s address to the media on Wednesday, 14th June, 2022  at the New Brookfields Hotel, Jomo Kenyatta Road, Freetown.

The release states that, Fofana, who was officially invited by the APC to cover the event, was said to have been confronted just outside the hall as he was hurrying to file his report by a large group of APC supporters who directed offensive remarks towards his mother.

According to Umaru, their hostility persisted as they pursued him to the hotel carpark, where  they continued to subject him to further indecent language and gestures, and was threatened  physically.

He was rescued by some onlookers and a fellow journalist who guided him to a secure location.

SLAJ stated that that was not the first time the BBC and Reuters broadcaster has encountered similar attacks from both members and supporters of the APC, with some originating from influential figures within the party.

Fofana had brought it to the attention of the APC leadership every time he was attacked by the party’s supporters and members who have never publicly condemned the action of their members or taken any other action.

“This attack on Fofana is so unfortunate and appalling, coming from a party that invited journalists to listen to their grievances and to help convey them to the wider public. Political parties must note that it is also their responsibility to ensure the safety and security of journalists in the course of their duty, especially during the elections period,” said SLAJ President, Ahmed  Sahid Nasralla

SLAJ calls on the APC to publicly denounce the recent attack on Fofana unequivocally and take appropriate action and proactive measures to encourage their supporters to desist from attacking journalists verbally and physically.

“We also call on all political parties and candidates contesting the June 24 elections to ensure the safety and well-being of journalists and other citizens engaging in their democratic duties at all times, especially with elections approaching and the political tension rising between political parties,” the release states.

Meanwhile, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Sidi Yayah Tunis, confirmed receiving a complaint from Fofana, and he promised to take it up with the party’s leadership today.

 “It is unfortunate and something we do not condone. None of us was present when it happened, but we will investigate and try to identify who was involved so we take strong action,” he assured.

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