The Village Headman of No. 2 River, Joseph Chernor Jalloh, his Deputy, Madam Bell and other staunch members of the governing Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have been implicated in the murder of twenty-eight (28) year-old Abubakarr Testao Sankoh at No. 2 River, Goderich, Constituency 110 in the Western Area Rural District (WARD).
Following the death of Abubakarr Testao Sankoh at the Connaught Teaching Hospital, autopsy examination by the Government Consultant Pathologist, Dr. Simeon Owizz Koroma proved that he died of ‘wet drowning’.
At a news conference organized by family members and some stakeholders of the No. 2 River community at Mass Complex, Calaba Town in east end Freetown on Tuesday 28th July 2020, Paul Sangor, who witnessed the circumstance that led to the death of Abubakarr Testao Sankoh, said on Saturday 16th May, 2020, the deceased’s grandfather sent him to go and inspect their family land on the borders with Tokel Village.
He said the deceased went to inspect the land together with him and other youths at No. 2 River and that on their way returning, they saw the Village Headman, Joseph Chernor Jalloh, his personal assistant, Mr. Thoronka and a group of youths and soldiers whom the Village Headman instructed to run after them.
Paul Sangoh said they took to their heels when the gang ran after them and that ran for some distance and at some point, the deceased got exhausted and wanted to discontinue when the gang was very close to them, adding that he encouraged the deceased to continue running.
He said whilst they were running for dear lives, he heard the deceased screaming when he was caught by the advancing assailants. Paul Sangoh furthered that when the deceased was caught, he heard Mr. Thoronka telling the Village Headman that they have caught the deceased and the latter told the former to deal with the deceased.
The youth, who was in a somber mood, alleged that the assailants beat up the deceased mercilessly and even stamped their feet on his stomach and other delicate body parts until he fainted as they watched in hiding from afar.
Paul Sangoh claimed that the Deputy Village Headman, Madam Bell openly threatened that now they have dealt with the deceased, they were also ready to deal with his colleague youths at the No. 2 River community.
According to the erstwhile Village Headman of No. 2 River, Abubakarr Conteh, who is an uncle to the deceased, following the merciless beating of his nephew with one of his friends that accompanied him to his family land, some people were arrested as suspects after the deceased died at the Connaught Teaching Hospital in Freetown.
He continued that the suspects were later released at the Adonkia Police Division after four days of the deceased death, but when the matter was reported at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Headquarters, they were rearrested and detained, adding that they were again released for the second time on grounds of no evidence against them.
Mr. Conteh said at the CID Headquarters he was accused of being an operative of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) trying to cause some mayhem in the community, adding that the CID Director, CSP John Alpha even threatened to lock him up should he proceed with the murder matter.
The aunt of the deceased, Madam Isatu Conteh cried for justice for the death of her nephew, adding that she suffered so much for the deceased whom she said became a plumber after he dropped out of school.
“On that day, the last week of the Holy month of Ramadan, Testao told me he was going out with his friends and I never saw him again. I was fasting and I was so tired that I could not even pray,” Madam Isatu Conteh said.
The aunt said she was told that her nephew had been beaten and that he might not survive the pain, adding that the deceased and friends were attacked at about 2:00p.m. or thereabout and that the deceased was taken to the Adonkia Police Division in a very critical condition at about 5:00p.m.
Madam Isatu Conteh said when she was with the deceased on his sick bed in Room 3 at the Connaught Hospital, he claimed that when the soldiers pointed guns at them, he friends ran away but he could not catch up with them and he was eventually captured by the gang that was chasing them. She also said her nephew told her that it was the Village Headman who instructed the soldiers to beat him up mercilessly.
“When hospitalized, Testao told me he was hungry and when I bought food for him, he could not even lift a cache of water because he was very weak. He told me that he was tortured by the soldiers in a rocky place and the sea,” Madam Isatu Conteh quoted the deceased as saying.
She added that her nephew was put in the back booth of a vehicle and whisked to the Adonkia Police Division, adding that the former Headman Abubakarr Conteh went to the police station and the deceased was given a medical form to go to the Connaught Hospital after his condition had worsened and he gave up the ghost the following Sunday 17th May, 2020.
She furthered that the Headman, Mr. Jalloh, his personal assistant, Mr. Thoronka and the soldiers handed the deceased over to the Adonkia Police Division and some suspects were apprehended briefly and were released.
Madam Isatu Conteh accused the Headman Mr. Jalloh of bragging about being well connected with the ruling SLPP and they have the backing of the Chief Minister.
“Though the Headman, Deputy Headman, Mr. Thoronka, the SLPP former parliamentary candidate, Josephine Jackson and others are bragging about political connections, all we need is justice for the murder of our child because we are all citizens who should be protected by the government,” Madam Isatu Conteh appealed.
While crying for justice, the mother of the deceased, Madam Aminata Conteh in a sombre mood appealed to the President and the First Lady to support her in finding justice for the death of his twenty-eight old son.
A representative of the Legal Aid Board, Olu Gabber Esq. called for calm and entreated the family members of the deceased not to take the law into their hands but to follow the due legal process.
He assured that LAB would not only associate itself with the matter but would also follow and monitor the process to its logical conclusion.