Salone News

John Leigh Debunks Press Statement

29 January 2007 at 00:08 | 487 views

By Our Correspondent.

A leading member of the ruling SLPP government in Sierra Leone, Dr. John Leigh(photo), has dismissed a recent statement purportedly written by the nine Special Court detainees, saying the signatures were forgeries. He added that Special Court detainees are normally not allowed to make such statements. The Special Court itself has not commented and may not do so.PMDC operatives contacted by the Vanguard have however maintained that the statement and signatures are true and genuine.

Chief Samuel Hinga Norman, Moinina Fofana, Alieu Musa Kondewa ( CDF), Issa Hassan Sesay, Augustine Gbow, Morris Kallon ( RUF) and Tamba Brima, Ibrahim Bazzy Kamara, Santigie Bobor Kanu (AFRC) signed the alleged statement January 11, 2007. The Special Court for Sierra Leone currently detains all nine, with Hinga Norman and Issa Sesay presently in a hospital in Dakar, Senegal where they are undergoing medical treatment.

In their statement, the nine detainees noted, with disappointment, that they are being held in “confinement and pain” for the past several years by the Special Court for Sierra Leone “regardless of our efforts to bring peace, unity, stability and security to our country, Sierra Leone, whilst those we believe bear the greatest responsibility for events of the civil war in that country are either dead or still out there with you”.

The detainees further complained that they are in confinement and pain notwithstanding provisions of the Lome Peace Agreement of 1999 which they said granted absolute pardon to all combatants and their collaborators in the civil war in the country and that the said Lome Peace Agreement was signed into law by the present parliament in Sierra Leone.
The statement further declared that the present SLPP government in Sierra Leone does not stand for peace, reconciliation, unity, stability and the development of the country and the people. Consequently, the detainees went on, they have decided to put aside their individual differences to support a single political party of their choice (the PMDC) for the forthcoming elections while observing that the only dividing force “that bears the greatest responsibility for the current problems in our country, Sierra Leone, is the government of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).”

The nine Special Court indictees also called on their supporters, sympathizers, friends, relations and well wishers to support the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), which, they said, “is the only political party we jointly and individually believe in to save our country, Sierra Leone, and bring peace, reconciliation, unity, love and stability to our nation”.

They also urged the PMDC to “spread the message far and wide within Sierra Leone and beyond to the international community, our friends, well-wishers, sympathizers, relations and supporters.”

PMDC leaders and supporters at home and abroad have greeted the development with great jubilation as the nine detainees enjoy the support of hundreds of thousands of voters across the country. SLPP leaders and supporters have however received the news with fear and consternation as it definitely spells disaster for their party.

Stay tuned for developments on this controversial issue.