With just few days to the September 8 presidential run-off, there have been reports of violence among supporters of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) and the All People’s Congress (APC) in various parts of the country.
Bo is no exception, as the country’s second city was a scene of violence last Friday as a result of an alleged attack on the house of one Sidikie Janneh who was recently suspended from the PMDC as financial secretary.
According to reports, a gang of unidentified men in black t-shirts with “Marshall” inscribed on them in the early hours of Friday broke into the house of Sidikie Janneh at Gborie Street, Kindia Town, vandalized the house, damaged property and set ablaze a motor bike in the compound while residents were forced to flee the compound.
Youth around the area reportedly rushed to the compound to put out the fire.
The situation deteriorated shortly when youth supposed to be supporters of Sidikie Janneh learnt that the unidentified gangs who attacked Janneh’s were camped at the Sahara Hotel, some few yards from where the incident took place.
The youth mobilized quickly and surrounded the hotel where it was later discovered that the PMDC leader, Charles Francis Margai, was putting up. The youth demanded that the “Marshall” gangs together with Charles Francis Margai come out of the hotel.
An alleged report of gun fire from around the guest house aggravated the situation which prompted police intervention.
The youth pelted the police with stones while the police returned fire with teargas and live bullets to disperse the crowd. A team of police personnel and OSD officers, led by Yeate-Yeate, escaped with Charles Margai and his delegation from the hotel through the main Sewa Road to the Countryside Guesthouse where it was reported that the APC leader, Ernest Bai Koroma, was lodged.
The two leaders left Bo under police escort. Shortly after the departure of the PMDC and APC leaders, the police had an encounter with supporters of the APC along the Mahei Boima Road.
Both the youth and police pelted each other with stones as the police ran out of tear gas. Two police officers were reported to have sustained injuries, while the police made few arrests.
The Regional Police Commissioner South, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police Desmond Buck, and the Local Unit Commander Bo I Division, Chief Superintendent Foday U.K. Daboh, have warned all political party officials and supporters to refrain from any act of violence or provocation that may lead to public disorder.
This warning was reechoed by the regional officer of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) South, Janneh Smith. Meanwhile, the situation remains calm while supporters of the various political parties remain vigilant.