Salone News

Update on Kailahun Incident

19 July 2007 at 15:42 | 341 views

By Jonathan Leigh.

President Tejan Kabbah made a brief stopover in
Kailahun, east of Sierra Leone on Monday, which was
the scene of political violence twenty four hours
earlier, on his way to the border town of Guekedou in
Guinea to attend a meeting of the Mano River Union
states involving Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea and
Ivory Coast.

Kabbah visited the residence of the Chiefdom Speaker
and the SLPP office respectively which were allegedly vandalised by PMDC supporters and called on the police to prosecute those culpable for the incident despite the fact that no arrest were made by the police.

Rivalry between two brothers supporting opposing
camps in the upcoming elections, sparked off ugly
scenes of violence. Chiefdom Speaker Bongay Ngobeh is a
staunch SLPP supporter while his brother is a
parliamentary aspirant for the PMDC.

Talking to us on his mobile phone from Kailahun,
Superintendent Kerefa Keita, the Police Local Unit
Commander in Kailahun stated categorically that he
was not aware of any shooting during the incident as
alleged by the PMDC Publicity Secretary Mohamed
Bangura neither from the police or any other person or
group of persons.

According to Keita, Kailahun was peaceful and quiet
before the arrival of Charles Margai. The same
atmosphere prevailed on the first day of his visit
last Saturday where he addressed his supporters, went
to Buedu on a similar assignment, returned to Kailahun
the same day and spent some time at his party’s office
before retiring to the GTZ Guest House which was
booked for him.

Keita says his information was that the midnight
incident of last Sunday was sparked off when
supporters of the PMDC started chanting provocative
songs against the SLPP.

The situation became tense and stones were thrown at
the residence of the Chiefdom Speaker Bongay Ngobeh by
PMDC supporters. In retaliation, the PMDC office
nearby was also attacked during the exchange of
missiles. Two vehicles; one packed in the compound of
the Speaker and the other parked infront of the PMDC
office were damaged.

According to Keita, he was out of Kailahum at the time
on patrol at a village called Borbu but had to cut
short his trip and return to put the situation under
control. He immediately cordoned off the area of the

Later, he received a phone call from the SLPP District
Chairman Prof. Sahr Ngevao informing him that thugs
allegedly hired by the PMDC were advancing to the SLPP
office on Mano Sawalu Road. Ngevao himself told us by
telephone on Monday that the office was pelted with
stones and vandalized.

Supt. Keita also narrated certain remarks made by
Charles Margai himself against the police in
particular, which he did not respond to.
He said he also prevented SLPP supporters from
blocking the route while Charles Margai and his
entourage were leaving the town.