The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) is contemplating lawful public demonstrations in major towns out of frustrations over alleged persistent intimidation and attacks on its supporters.
Secretary general of the SLPP, Jacob Jusu Saffa speaking to the press yesterday at their Freetown party headquarters, said there was no time limit for the demonstrations.
He noted that in spite of repeated complaints to the authorities of acts of intimidation, harassment and victimization of its members allegedly by APC supporters, such incidents continue in some parts of the country.
Mr Saffa referred to the acts as gross violations of human rights abuses, as he catalogued attacks on SLPP supporters most recently that of the attacks on Madingoes in Koquima Tankoro chiefdom, Kono district and on the Fullas in Tonko Limba, Kambia district.
The attack on the Madingoes, Mr Saffa explained, occurred on November 21 which it was alleged by APC youths who attacked and vandalized houses and one Alhaji Mohamed Mansaray, a fervent Muslim, was forced to drink locally brewed gin ‘omollay’. Also one Alhaji Osman Kallay, who attempted to rescue Alhaji Mansaray was beaten and his residence completely vandalized and partially burnt.
The other attack, he said, occurred on Monday December 3 at Kambia district where he also alleged that APC youths attacked Fullahs in Kuradala Warren and Tonko Limba burning over 60 houses and assets including livestock worth millions of Leones.
Mr Saffa commented that the SLPP “views such as yet another human rights abuse and like all others can be a recipe for widespread conflict.”
He further said, “as a party that worked relentlessly to bring the 11 years war to an end, we cannot be silent on any attempt that may undermine the peace and stability of our country.”
The SLLP secretary general believed that such re-occurrence was as a result of the ineffectiveness or unwillingness of the state to curb the attacks and victimizations further supported by the fact that the “President in public pronouncements has not made peace consolidation, national cohesion and unity prominent and the police and judiciary have failed to bring to book these saboteurs of state security.”
“This is what the APC did in 1968 when the SLPP members were forced to go into exile or succumb to the dictates of the reign of terror. The party would like to remind the public, particularly its supporters that we shall not run away. We are prepared to be unlawfully detained or face the bullets or suffer secret killings”, he lamented. Asked what they would do if the police refused them permit to demonstrate, Mr Saffa remarked “if the police refuses to give clearance as it is our constitutional rights, we will negotiate it.”