Attempted Jail Break… Fatmata Sewanneh Exposes Government

Senior government officials including the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) have been exposed by the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) National Women’s leader over attempted jail break at the Pa Demba Road Central Correctional facility.
The Wednesday incident left several inmates allegedly gunned down by state security operatives apparently to restrain them from escaping.
The exact figure of casualties could not be quantified, but an official source says the death toll stands at 11.
Two slightly different audio messages released by the SLPP National Women’s leader, Madam Fatmata Sewanneh indicates that she and other top SLPP and government officials were present at the scene where the alleged shooting of prisoners took place.
“Yesterday, I am amazed, happy and excited to say I am a national women’s leader of SLPP because everybody saw our response. I reached Pa Demba Road at 3am, the CDS arrived there around 3-4am, Lahai Lawrence Leema reached there as early between 5: 30am and 6am and later the organising Secretary, Batilo reached there between 8am and 9am,” Sewanneh explained through an audio message.
A number of Sierra Leoneans have questioned the presence of these officials at the scene, and fingers have continued to point at them that their role led to deaths of the prisoners.
A cross section of Sierra Leoneans have accused the SLPP and government officials of a ploy to assassinate the former Minister of Defence, Alfred Paolo Conteh, the former Mayor of Freetown municipality, Herbert George Williams and the former Public Relations Officer of the main opposition, All people’s Congress (APC) Western Area Branch, Abu bakarr Daramy.
The three inmates are key APC officials who are held in custody at the Pa Demba Road Male Correctional facility for treasonable and murderous offences.
In what appears a still-birth damage control strategy by the Madam Sewanneh, the second audio message she released put their time of arrival at the Pa Demba Road Central Correctional facility at 8am.
However, members of the public say no amount of damage control could efface the serious indictment the National Women’s Leader has made against her own party.
“An own goal has been scored against the SLPP,” one of the youths said.
Madam Sewaneh’s two audio messages singled out the publisher of Awareness Times Newspaper, Dr Sylvia Blyden among other APC women to have incited the Pa Demba Road riots.
In another sinister cover-up of the brutal incidents at Pa Demba Road Correctional Facility, Dr Sylvia Blyden has been arrested and is in custody helping the police in their investigations.
For over 24 hours, no charge was preferred against the Awareness Times Publisher, an act that runs to the country’s supreme law.
However, information reaching this medium indicates that Dr Blyden has been slammed with charges of incitement and subversion, an offence akin to treason.
Prior to the tragic incident, The SLPP Women’s leader said they were initially threatened by Dr Sylvia Blyden as well as other APC women.
“We have got audios two or three months ago that the APC has trained some Marshalls to kill me, David Sengeh, Ben Keifallah and Lahai Lawrence Leema,” she alleged.
“They threatened to attack us and they did that as I was physically attacked, but my security and the SLPP boys at the gate did not allow them because I always stay with SLPP people,” she emphasised.
David Sengeh is the Minister of Basic and Senior School Education, Ben Keifallah is the head of Anti-Corruption Commission, the country’s anti-Graft Body and Lahai Lawrence Leema is the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs.
Madam Sewaneh’s seeming threat messages to the Main opposition indicates that the SLPP government would make Sierra Leone a “bitter” place for the APC if they are not given the chance to govern the country.
“As an eye for an eye, we will soon start to hunt APC leaders. If APC try us, we will try them. We will never allow anybody to either jeopardise or put our lives at risk,” Madam Sewaneh threatened.
The threats by the SLPP National Women’s leader came at a time the United Nations (UN) in Sierra Leone has called for prompt and full investigations into the Pa Demba Road incidents in terms of the scale of lives lost.
A press statement from the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator of the in Sierra Leone says:
“The United Nations in Sierra Leone expresses serious concern over the violent incidents which occurred on 29th April, 2020, and the resultant loss of life in the Central Correctional Facility at Pa Demba Road in Freetown. It calls for prompt and full investigations into the incidents so that the
Perpetrators of the violence may be brought to justice.”
The UN statement also reminds the government of Sierra Leone about international conventions and treaties particularly the Nelson Mandela Rules to which Sierra Leone is a signatory.
The Nelson Mandela Rules, according to the UN statement, place obligations to respect and protect the human rights of all persons deprived of their liberty.
The UN in Sierra Leone similarly does not lose sight of the damage done to property, and further condemns all forms of violence.
Considering the spate of widespread political violence in Sierra Leone in Sierra Leone, the UN in Sierra Leone urges all political parties and other stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue which it stands ready to facilitate.
This is not the first time state security operatives have gunned down and wounded civilians since this government came to power.
A little over a year ago, a joint police and military raid in a village in Yonni Chiefdom Tonkolili district, Northern Sierra Leone left one person dead and several others injured.
Huge sums of money and property worth millions of Leones were stolen by security operatives and villagers’ houses were partially damaged.
The security operatives justify their hands in the loot on the basis that the money and assets were proceeds of the sale of cannabis which, they said, was the object of the raid.
The Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB), a government agency that investigates alleged police killings of civilians among other offences, made little effort to bring the culprits to justice.
One of IPCB officials told Nightwatch that they always investigate and refer such matters to the Attorney-General (AG) for perusal and preference of charges.
“We did the same thing with the Yoni police killing. We referred the matter to AG after the investigation. We are yet to receive directive from them,” the source said.
Such matters could hardly be prosecuted in consideration that the AG occupies a seat in the cabinet as Minister of Justice.
Many Sierra Leoneans who spoke to this medium were opposed to the IPCB noting that the Pa Demba Road Killings is a case for the International Criminal Court.

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