SLAJ Complain APC brutality on journalists

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*Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ)*
56 Campbell Street
Freetown

To:

The Secretary General
Alhaji Ambassador Osman Yansaneh
All People’s Congress (APC)
Old Railway Line
Freetown

Date: 1st April, 2018

Dear Sir,

*Letter of complaint against physical attacks on journalists by APC members*

We write to vehemently complain of physical assault on three of our journalists by members of the APC on polling day 31st March 2018 during the Presidential Run-off Elections.

We have received formal complaints from our affected members and have corroborated eye witness reports in relation to such.

*Patrick Jaiah Kamara* of Concord Times newspaper was attacked by men dressed in black; seemingly acting under the orders of APC members Messrs *Sanusi Bruski* and former Mayor of Freetown City Council *Herbert George Williams* . The attackers tore Patrick’s clothes and damaged his camera. He sustained bruises on his chest, and currently has a swollen temple and cheek and lost his digital recorder and money.

Patrick was in the company of his Editor (Eye witness) and the attack happened in the full view of military and police officers.

Patrick’s only crime was using his camera to take photos of an incident around the Mafa field in Lumley.

The matter has been reported to the Lumley Police Station while Patrick is now responding to treatment.

Another journalist, *Ibrahim Samura* of New Age newspaper, was beaten with chains by another group allegedly led by APC operatives- deputy Minister of Trade- *Ibrahim Washingai Mansaray*, *Abubakarr Daramy*, *Sanusi Bruski*, *Alusine Denkeh* and one *Dankay Koroma*, again in the presence and full view of Police personnel less than 50 metres from the Lumley Police Station.

Ibrahim’s crime was also using his camera to take photos of an incident happening at the Lumley roundabout. The attackers disembarked from a State vehicle to carry out their mischief.
The matter has also been reported to the Lumley Police Station while Ibrahim is responding to treatment.

We have also received reports of intimidation of journalists in some polling stations in the North, especially in Kambia District.

These journalists were merely carrying out their duties to monitor and report on the elections and we cannot over-emphasize the importance of their role in ensuring a credible, fair and transparent elections.

While we are urging the Sierra Leone Police to speedily conclude their investigations and bring the culprits to book, we equally urge you to seriously look into this matter and take appropriate action as a respected and disciplined political party.

Please note that we put absolute premium on the safety and security of our membership.

Thank you very much for your usual co-operation.

Yours Sincerely,

*Ahmed Sahid Nasralla*
National Secretary General

Cc:
i) Reporters Without Borders
ii) Committee for the Protection of Journalists iii) International Federation of Journalists
iv) Media Foundation for West Africa
v) US Embassy Sierra Leone
vi) British High Commission Sierra Leone
vii) Irish Embassy Sierra Leone
viii) EU Election Observer Mission
ix) ECOWAS Observer Mission
x) AU Observer Mission
xi) Commonwealth Observer mission
xii) Independent Media Commission
xiii) The Human Rights Commission SL.
xiv) The Inspector General of Police
xv) The Chief of Defence Staff
xvi) The PPRC

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Abu Bakarr Tarawally is a Journalist based in Freetown. He works for the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation as a radio producer. He has once served as Editor for a few newspapers in Freetown, including Sierra Express Media, The Exclusive Newspaper and his own newspaper, the Daily Express Publications. He is a teacher trainer, and loves writing and reading a lot. Email: abstarawally@gmail.com. Call +232 88601277 or +2327661303.

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