By Abass Conteh
The police under strict instructions from the powers that be on Monday 15th August 2022 intensified their search for all those suspected to be part of the August 10 demonstration in Sierra Leone to face the brute of the law by declaring them wanted with a ransom price leading to their arrest. Houses of suspected individuals are presently under siege as armed men from both the military and the police constantly barge in and drag young men and women outside their houses, beating them mercilessly in the presence of their kids and then bundling them into standby trucks to the stations.
It is appalling to note that those who put up resistance were shot inside the police vehicle and their remains deposited at the mortuary awaiting secret burial at night in an unknown site, whiles the lucky ones are whisked to the famous ‘Benghazi Room’ at the Operational Service Division –OSD of the Sierra Leone Police at Kinghaman Road and severely tortured before arraignment in court.
Among the recently declared wanted as said at the Police Press briefing is one Alpha Conteh of Kuntorloh –Jalloh Terrace, whose house was raided by armed men on Wednesday of 10th August 2022. Alpha and his wife Agnes as stated by close neighbours would be counting their stars where ever they are after escaping such brutality by a team of joint armed personnel who raided their house at 10 pm that same day during the curfew hours.
Speaking to an anonymous eye witness said the police entered Alpha’s house ruthlessly heat the door threatening to kill anyone if they don’t open the door. Noticing no response they fired a few shots and left but promised to come back during the day. He said they were all masked but using police vehicles and that night those who were suspected to be part of the demonstration with PPP T-shirts were apprehended and thrown into the vehicle.
According to the Police, the warrant is attached with a ransom of fifty million Leones for any information leading to Alpha’s arrest for incitement, unlawful conduct and riot.
Community sources intimated to this reporter that the alleged suspect may have either been killed during the demonstration as there were tear gasses and sporadic live-bullet shots by police on that day of Wednesday 10th August or hibernating somewhere, as he was last seen along Congo Water.
Sources intimated this medium that on Wednesday 10th August youths were converging to make a peaceful demonstration on the economic hardship in the country at around 8 am wearing black T-shirts with different inscriptions and at the top back inscribed ‘PPP’. It all started peacefully until police officers along Congo Water debarred them from continuing by firing live bullets and teargas directly at the demonstrators.
The incident went a wire and firing became sporadic and people ran helter-skelter. The tension increases and the government instituted a dusk-to-dawn curfew. The officers backed by masked armed men started to raid houses of suspected demonstrators, beating and dragging them to the station.
An anonymous eyewitness also managed to jump into an unfinished house adjacent to the scene of a crime to save his life, adding that on that very day of the August 10 demonstration, after the curfew was declared, masked men inside an unlicensed vehicle were raiding houses of anyone suspected to be part of the demonstration. These men (unmasked men) would beat people mercilessly without any fear of being arrested and whisked to the police station as suspects, hence young men were forced to desert their houses for safety. He explained that he saw armed men violently alit from a vehicle shouting where is the PPP bastard, and a young man who was with them pointed to the house opposite his hiding place hiding and he heard them shouting y rushed in firing a few shots in the air, ‘I cannot tell for how many minutes it lasted but I heard one of the officers threatening to kill anyone that is against the government.
Few days after the police published a notice of Alpha Conteh declaring him wanted for the August 10 demonstration with a ransom price of 30 million Leones for any information leading to his arrest.