Two Journalists: Abibatu Dora Kamara of Awoko Newspaper and Ibrahim Samura of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) were yesterday physically manhandled by some members of the Sierra Leone Police officers attached to Law Courts building.
Ms. Kamara went to cover the court proceedings of former Marine and Fisheries Minister, Haja Afsatu Kabba who is facing seven counts charge of alleged corruption. She met a fracas between sympathizers of Haja Afsatu Kabba and some Police personnel at the main entrance of the Law Court building.
The sympathizers who were standing out of the Courts compound were expressing their anger on the manner in which the Police treated them.
As the fracas intensified Ms Kamara took out her camera to take some photos when an OSD personnel named Banya forcefully held her blouse and demanded that she should surrenders the camera to him.
Ten other OSD personnel surrounded me and they twisted my arm as they tried to wrest the camera from me threatening that they are going to break it, she explained.
Ibrahim Samura from SLBC went to her rescue, but he was manhandled by the Officers with his shirt torn out. “As the Police continued to twist my hand behind my back like a common thief the camera was wrenched from me”.
As the tension mounted, some Journalists who went to cover the court case pleaded with the officers to release the camera, but Banya argued bitterly that he will not release the camera unless the reporter deletes the pictures she took of them fighting with the sympathizers.
The acting Editor of Awoko Newspaper Samuel John later came to the scene and called the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) Umaru Fofanah.
A senior OSD officer arrived at the scene and after some explanation by Abibatu Kamara he ordered another officer to accompany her so that they can locate the officer who took the camera.
Shortly after the officer was located, he was instructed to go see the most senior officer, and the camera was handed over to the senior officer who later handed it to our Samuel John of Awoko. By Abibatu Kamara