Wow!! What a day on Free Speech… Great posts with “for and against” arguments about J6 and March 23rd. In my opinion, Freetown is not Sierra Leonean, but the deaths in Freetown during J6 are certainly a Sierra Leone problem. 9/11 too place in New York, but everyone knows it’s a Problem in America…, We observe 9/11 every year in the United States, even though it was in New York. Perhaps, it’s time to observe other important dates relating to the war…
Well, I was in the USA during 911, doing what I am doing today. Publishing news and discussing the “ill doings” of the wicked against Sierra Leone. I worked with Peter Anderson in bringing news to all. I created the design he used to deliver the news about the war and other matters about Sierra Leone. We both used BBC Focus on Africa to inform Sierra Leoneans around the world on what was happening in Sierra Leone. J 6 was a major reason for me to create Sierra Leone Live in 1999. Sierra Leone Live was about “Linking Sierra Leoneans around the World”. We now have Leone Connect…, Coming soon!
May the Wicked against Sierra Leone Perish!
Here is a post from Sierra Leone Live’s archives in 2002 on Foday Sankoh
“BBC Network Africa
Tuesday, March 05, 2002
LEAD-IN: Sierra Leone’s former rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, was granted amnesty under the terms of the Lome Peace Agreement. But now he’s appeared in court to face charges of murder. The case refers to an incident outside his house on May the 8th 2000, after the period covered by the amnesty, when a crowed of demonstrators were shot at and many were killed. A few days later he was arrested and he hadn’t been seen in public again until yesterday. Our reporter Lansana Fofana was among those in court in Freetown yesterday. On the line I asked him what the atmosphere was in and around the court.
FOFANA: The atmosphere was very, very electrifying. Inside the court it was very jam-packed yet also some people, some only got the news much later on yesterday and they flocked into the courtroom. Outside the courtroom the main Siaka Stevens street was taken over by crowds of onlookers who wanted to get a glimpse of Foday Sankoh, who has been detained for about two years or so. I saw thousands and thousands of people milling the streets. The riot police were brought in and the UN forces to control the crowd.
How did Foday Sankoh look?
FOFANA: He looked very, very sick to me. I mean, he wasn’t very strong enough to walk by himself. He had to be supported by police officers and prison guards. He was handcuffed. Both his hands were in handcuffs, and then he was brought in a flowing gown. He had his beard very, very long, not shaven at all. His hair was braided in dreadlocks which I’m sure he had been keeping for quite a while. And then he looked very, very subdued. He wasn’t the same Foday Sankoh we knew very much — very robust, very, very chatty. He came there and he appeared as if he didn’t quite recognize people around him, nor was he very strong enough to be able to talk to people.
Why has Foday Sankoh been brought to court now?
FOFANA: Officially what I think might have happened is that the State of Public Emergency which had been in force for a number of years was lifted on Friday. And by the constitution of Sierra Leone, nobody could be detained after an emergency is lifted for 72 hours. So therefore, the government had to charge these people to court or release them. Their best option would have been to charge them even for whatever crime. So my understanding is that they couldn’t have been kept any longer in prison as detainees.
How was the RUFP, the political party that came out of the RUF, reacted to these men being brought in court?
FOFANA: Strangely in the courtroom and its precincts, there were no significant RUF people around. After the court sessions, which lasted for the better part of yesterday, I managed to hook up with some of the RUF people and ask them what their reactions were. Some of them were really very angry that Mr. Sankoh was taken to court, and they wouldn’t say exactly what their reaction would be, even though they kept saying they will comply with the peace process and the planned elections. But definitely, they were anticipating that their leader would be released and would be representing them as the presidential candidate for the May 14th national elections.
What does this mean as far as Foday Sankoh being the candidate in the elections?
FOFANA: Well at the moment it is not clear exactly what will happen to the RUF in terms of their plans for the May 14th presidential and general elections. Eldred Collins, who is their public relations officer, was saying yesterday in fact that the RUF will be convening a convention, a national convention, where they will decide who the leader will be. I’ve spoken to a number of RUF officials and they seem to be very much agreed on Foday Sankoh being their presidential candidate, the leader of their political movement and the former military group, and for them, Foday Sankoh is going to represent them in the elections and he is the man they want. But this as I said, is a bit tricky because registration of potential voters had closed a couple of weeks back, and Foday Sankoh wasn’t registered. And if you are not registered, qualified to vote, then you’re not even qualified to be voted for. In other words, this is a technical knockout for the RUF who might just well have to look for an alternative candidate to replace Mr. Foday Sankoh.
© 2002 – BBC Network Africa”
From Sierra Leone Live archives…
Here is another with Zainab Bangura
“Radio France International
Tuesday, January 22, 2002
LEAD-IN: Sierra Leone’s Ahmad Tejan Kabbah over the weekend declared the country officially peaceful ending ten years of one of Africa’s most brutal conflicts characterized by widespread atrocities against civilians. The war in Sierra Leone, which made millions of people homeless, spread throughout West Africa before UN-initiated peace talks ended the conflict. There was a symbolic ceremony in Freetown yesterday which included the symbolic burning of thousand of weapons, witnessed by the president of Ghana and the vice president of Liberia. Zainab Bangura is head of Campaign for Good Governance, a civil society group. She was at the ceremony in Freetown and told RFI the peace is fragile, but there is hope finally.
BANGURA: We know that peace doesn’t mean when the guns are silent. It goes beyond. So I think as much as I can say is we are on the process for peace. The first thing is that there has been a ceasefire for a long time. Secondly, the government has been able to deploy the SLA into vast areas of Sierra Leone. The remaining areas have also the UNAMSIL presence. I think to a larger extent that gives confidence to Sierra Leoneans and to the people in general. And so most people believe that we are on the process of peace and I think that’s what the government also means. They are yet to take complete hundred percent control, so when you take those two things all in total, I think we can say we’ve come a long way — we’ve traveled a long way. We are almost at the end of the road.
© 2002 – Radio France International”
What a day!
I’ll archive all the posts about J6 on Free Speech… Thanks everyone…