Kailahun: A Theatre of War!

10 September 2007 at 11:06 | 662 views

By Seydouba Bangura,USA.

The recent attack on the convoy of the APC leader Ernest Bai Koroma and PMDC leader Francis Charles Margai in Kailahun in the eastern region of Sierra Leone comes as no surprise to those of us familiar with the history of violence by SLPP supporters in that part of the country.

Kailahun is the bastion of SLPP violence - a theater of unspeakable diabolical atrocities perpetrated against supporters of the All People’s Congress. It was a no-go area for the APC in the 1967 General Election, and has proved to be a no-go area for the APC in all the elections conducted under the leadership of Alhaji Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. In the 2002 elections a pronouncement was made by SLPP diehards banning all forms of APC campaigning in the district and preventing APC candidates from contesting.

Kailahun’s reputation for violence started in the sixties, following the formation of the
All People’s Congress. In an effort to establish itself as a national political party, enthusiastic APC supporters left Freetown in truckloads of vehicles owned by popular
Freetown businessman JC Samuels to campaign in Kailahun. None of those vehicles came back as the APC supporters were ambushed and killed by ill-guided and over-zealous SLPP supporters in Kaialhun. That was the beginning of political violence in Sierra Leone on a large scale. What happened then cannot be compared to any form of violence for which the APC has been accused of by SLPP apologists.

The Revolutionary United Front was formed in Kailahun. Aside from being the
Headquarters of the RUF, the Rebel War erupted in Kailahun in 1991 before spreading to other parts of Sierra Leone. It was in Kailahun where disgruntled and frustrated SLPP politicians created and nurtured the 800-pound gorilla that went on the destructive path for over ten years. It was in Kailahun that Foday Sankoh recruited his first set of fighters to wage a senseless war on innocent Sierra Leoneans. Avaricious SLPP politicians including Kabbah and Berewa financed and fueled the rebel war that claimed the lives of countless Sierra Leoneans, left thousands homeless, almost half a million displaced, homes and property running in the millions destroyed.

When the campaign for the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections officially kicked off, Kailahun once more proved that it is the headquarters of SLPP violence. Uncouth SLPP politicians and their ragtag supporters prevented the APC leader and his supporters from entering Kailahun during his campaign trail to the East.
When PMDC leader Charles Margai went to Kailahun for a public meeting with his supporters, SLPP supporters led by Parick Foya disrupted the meeting. The ubiquitous Sierra Leone ambassador to Liberia is reported to have opened fire on PMDC supporters. In the ensuing clash between PMDC and SLPP supporters, houses and vehicles were destroyed.

On the eve of the presidential run-off Kailahun exploded again with violence. This time around, it is to prevent the APC presidential candidate from winning a vote in the eastern province. The Gang of Four (Karimu, Benjamin, Nyallay and Foya) who have
been terrorizing APC Supporters and PMDC supporters in that area known as the Segbwema triangle are at it again. But they are going to be terribly disappointed.

Honorable Ernest Bai Koroma will emerge as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone without the Kailahun vote. The majority of Sierra Leoneans including Mendes
in the South-East, will vote for Ernest Bai Koroma because they want a positive change in Sierra Leone. Our patriotic brothers and sisters in Bo, Moyamba, Kenema and Kono will vote for the APC/PMDC because they want to see the formation of a Government based on the unity of all Sierra Leoneans. Most importantly, because they believe it is high time we vote, not on tribal and regional lines, but for the good of the country.

Photo: John Benjamin.