''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 1

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

Contact us
World Cup with the BBC
UK Serious Fraud Office
World Association for Human Rights - USA
National Union of Journalists (UK)
BBC African Service
Daily Trust of Nigeria
UN Great Lakes
Writer Adichie
Southwark Council
S.L. Web
All Africa.com
Africa Week
Human Rights Watch
Amnesty International
Trial Watch
International Criminal Court
One World
Royal African Society
University of
East London
Nigeria Anti Corruption Commission
archive 6
archive 7




(CPJ/IFEX)- On 11 October 1997, John Foray, acting editor of the newspaper "Democrat", and freelancer Abdul Kposwa were beaten and arrested by army officers who then took them to Pademba Road prison where they were detained without charge. Elsewhere, Umaru Fofana, a freelancer for the "Vision" newspaper and a stringer for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), was shot in the leg and tortured by army officers who claimed he was suspected of reporting for former President Tejan Kabbah's clandestine radio station, FM 98.1. Fofana was treated at the Military Hospital in Freetown and released.

On 10 October, secret police arrested freelancer Abdul Salam Timbo on charges of subversion. Information on his whereabouts are not yet available.

On 8 October, freelancer Donald Davis was arrested and detained at Pademba road prison on charges of subversion. That same day, three armed men and a civilian of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) came to the residence of "Punch" newspaper editor David Tambaryoh to arrest him for aggravated assault of Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, editor of the "Expo Times". Tambaryoh was charged with subversion. The men claimed that the arrest was ordered by one Lieutenant Jalloh and the President's office, via a Mr. Njauja, head of the CID. Tambaryoh refused to leave his house until they presented an arrest warrant. The soldiers left his house and returned in fifteen minutes without a warrant, a truck- load of soldiers and a taxi to escort Tambaryoh to the CID offices. Shaw, who has developed close ties with the military junta, followed the convoy.

At the CID, Tambaryoh was informed that Shaw filed the assault charges and that the subversive activity charges were a result of his alleged communication with ousted President Kabbah, Ambassador to the United Nations James Jonah, and Ambassador John Ernest Leigh in Washington to whom Tambaryoh was accused of forwarding sensitive information. He denied all charges but was detained for 72 hours on 10 October. Soon after Tambaryoh's release on unspecified conditions, he was informed that his two security guards had stopped by the "Punch" offices looking for him and his deputy director. Tambaryoh is currently in hiding.

During Tambaryoh's detention, his wife, who is also in hiding, transported some of her husband's belongings to her elder sister's house then removed it to a safer place. That night, armed men arrived at Tambaryoh's sister-in-law's house and demanded his property. Although she denied having it, the soldiers looted her house and raped her and her daughter twice.

Fellow journalists believe that the false charges of aggravated assault against Tambaryoh resulted from a verbal altercation between Tambaryoh and Shaw during the 6 October editorial meeting of the Sierra Leonian Association of Journalists (SLAJ). At the meeting, SLAJ reminded the 28 editors present that SLAJ had issued a statement condemning the military junta and rejecting its authority. Recently, the regime had ordered all newspapers to re-register, and some SLAJ members felt that since they already registered in January, there was no need for them to register again. The editors voted on the matter, and only three of the twenty-eight editors were in favour of re-registration. Shaw was visibly angry at this outcome and he and Tambaryoh got into a verbal altercation.

Two executive members of SLAJ, Foday Fofana, editor of the "Concord" newspaper and Acting Secretary of SLAJ, Fallah Ensa-Ndemah, are expected to be arrested by army officers on counts of subversion, in connection to SLAJ's vehement statement against the re-registration of newspapers and for statements against the interest of the state. Both have gone underground.


Yearning for the mother country?

The right choice is Kevin McPhilips Travel

©Sierra Herald 2002