The All Peoples Congress (APC) Party has issued a press release over the harassment and gross human rights abuses meted by Presidential Guards on 22 and 23 February, 2023 to their party members at Hill Station and the environs.
According to the press release, the party was dismayed and anguished. They made the press statement concerning the violent attacks on their Party officials and supporters.
The ruling party thugs unleashed violence and not only them but also the state security apparatus jumped upon the APC supporters, including the Mayor, whose laptop was taken from her. The violence started from February 22 and 23 while the jubilant APC crowd was returning from Makeni to Freetown with their Flagbearer Dr. Samura Kamara.
The press release pointed out that on the day of the violent outburst by the SLPP thugs, a day the APC referred to as the “Triumphant Entry” of the All Peoples Congress Flagbearer into Freetown, hundreds of thousands of suffering Sierra Leoneans and party faithful’s flooded the streets to show solidarity for their candidate for the 2023 Presidential elections.
“We received reports of violence and unprovoked physical attacks on our National Secretary General, Mr. Lansana Dumbuya and his entourage. The driver and security personnel escorting the Mayor of Freetown, Her Worship, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, Mrs. Jennifer Kargbo, (a former aspirant for the position of deputy national chairperson of the Party and the wife of the former minister of Finance and the occupants of her vehicle) had her vehicle taken away.
Other effects of Mahmoud Tarawally, a former Deputy Minister of Lands were seized and he was severely beating, molested and temporarily detained. Rtd. A.IG. Karrow – Kamara and a multitude of other supporters and sympathizers were ordered to prostrate on the floor. “Karrow’s vehicle was ransacked,” the press release said.
The statement continued that party supporters were subsequently beaten mercilessly sustaining injuries, compounded by psychological shock.
The Secretary General is still undergoing medical and continuing to complain of a pain on his ribcage. Similarly, his vehicle, money and other effects were confiscated and up till now they haven’t been returned.
Mayor Aki – Sawyerr’s driver, Hassan Kamara and her security guard were beaten up. The Mayor’s laptop and other belongings were confiscated. The driver and the security guard were taken out of the car. Up till now the Mayor’s laptop is in police custody.
According to the press release, Mrs. Jennifer Kargbo was similarly harassed at the same place with guns being directly pointed at her vehicle. “Thankfully, she escaped unharmed. We are yet to locate some of our supporters who were manhandled and/or retrieve the vehicles and other property taken from them. There are also reports of police brutality on our supporters at Calaba Town having been provoked by members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party’s Ataya Base.
“The police in their trademark disproportional handling of events fired tear- gas canisters that led to a stampede. Our party supporters were again beaten by police officers and bundled in trucks and we were not expecting our first press conference to be about this. Our Party is the government in waiting and our hope was to share with you our programs and policies to build back Sierra Leone once we take power through the ballot box on 24 June 2023,” the press release said.
Let us make this very clear; no intimidation tactics, harassment, arrests or bullying will scare us. We will not be fazed. Our people know what this election is about. It is about their survival and saving the soul of this nation.
What was clearly evident was the fear on their part that they will lose the next elections and vacate office so they resorted to intimidation. “Rest assured, the APC will only take power through democratic means.”
The All Peoples Congress vehemently condemns all these acts of violence, harassment and gross human rights abuses meted out by the State Security Forces. We note that these worrying conducts of State Security Forces do not bode well with our democracy. The Sierra Leone People’s Party is destroying our fragile and hard-won peace.
They must not toy with it!, We equally call on the President Bio led government to condemn these acts and facilitate the swift investigation of perpetrators to dispel any belief that the government had any hand in the intimidation and assault of our members.
What we demand is a level playing field for all political parties. We must be given the freedom within the laws to operate just as is being done for the SLPP and its flag bearer.
We continue to urge our members to remain law abiding, as the APC Party, the-government-in-waiting, will not afford to jeopardize the peace of our nation. Our resolve is to see a peaceful and prosperous Sierra Leone.
We will use lawful and democratic means to our economy better and our nation once again on an upward trajectory. The APC Party is focused on saving the nation of Sierra Leone and would continue to utilize all lawful avenues to make its voice heard and rely on the International Community to protect our peace”.