Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) minority leader of the House of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai has on Tuesday, 31st May,2016 during an exclusive interview with Awareness Times Newspaper, gave an eyewitness account that gang of the 2012 presidential candidate, Maada Bio were holding knives and acid against supporters of John Oponjo Benjamin during violence in the eastern regional headquarters of Kenema Town.
According to Police AIG East, Alfred Karrow-Kamara, who spoke to Awareness Times Newspaper, the violence ignited from a political disagreement between supporters of Maada Bio and supporters of John Oponjo Benjamin on Friday, 27th May, 2016. He said, that led to the killing of a 32yr old man, Mohamed Karim, who happened to be a supporter of Mr. Benjamin.
The female MP, who represents Constituency 013, in Kenema District, said one of the major cause for the outburst of violence in Kenema was a result of constant leak reports to supporters of Maada Bio, who were outside, from major stakeholders that were inside the meeting. She said, during the meeting, senior SLPP officials including the current acting National Publicity Secretary, Hon. Philip Tondoneh were making calls to crowd outside the meeting, thereby mobilising Bio’s supporters who thronged the meeting vicinity at Sinava Guesthouse, Kenema Town.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai said, Maada Bio’s supporters were ruthless on that fateful night to the extent that even her personal bodyguard was threatened. She said, had it not been the timely intervention of AIG East, Alfred Karow Kamara, to stop the meeting immediately and thereby escorting Mr. Benjamin and her, things would have been most horrible.
She informed that just ten (10) mins after she departed the scene, information reached her that a supporter of Mr. Benjamin was stabbed by another supporter of Maada Bio, Mohamed Fonnie. She confirmed that the victim, Mohamed Karim, like all of Mr. Benjamin’s supporters was very peaceful on that day, but was really doubtful that Bio’s supporters could take brutality to that extent.
However, in a press release issued on Saturday 28th May, 2016, Maada Bio “unreservedly” disassociates himself with the violence. He said, he condemned the killing, referring to it as “unacceptable, unnecessary and unjustified”. He called for the killer to be punished.
However, Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai informed that, AIG Alfred Karow-Kamara must be commended for his vigilance and experience. She endorsed and supported the action of the police to put a stop to all political activities in the eastern regional headquarters of Kenema Town.