By Foday Moriba Conteh
Various human rights activists in the country have seriously condemned the unlawful and wrongful arrests of young people identified as the real perpetrators of the August 10, 2022, violent protests that erupted in some parts of the country including Freetown, the capital city, as some social media posts have indicated.
However, when this medium decided to undertake a serious investigation into the issue it came out glaringly that in actual fact such false identifications are mainly politically motivated and perpetrated by supporters of the ruling SLPP Government against those considered to be against the political establishment.
What has made the situation become very alarming is the fact that there are certain vigilante groups, said to be made up of supporters of the ruling SLPP Government, going around and clandestinely killing those considered to be diehard supporters of the opposition APC Party.
These frightful extra-judicial killings have even become very fearful and dreadful to an extent that it has created panic in some communities especially when news break out that a fanatic supporter of the APC in the Northern Provincial City of Makeni was identified and shot dead amidst other unconfirmed incidences of similar nature.
Lumpa Waterloo, one of the emerging communities situated in Waterloo was indeed a hot spot during the violent protest as the situation was really tense as the crowd was trying to advance towards the city’s Centre with Police Officers repelling them by firing tear gas canisters and in some cases live bullets.
Young people were seen violently protesting as they believe that the economic hardship has become really unbearable and therefore a political change must take place.
Mounting roadblocks, burning tyres and throwing various missiles against the Police, who in return retaliated by firing teargas to disperse the sporadic crowds that were converging or building up from time to time, the situation really got out of hand as the Police started firing live bullets with some fatalities taking place.
As the situation died down, one of the resident of the community by the name of Alex Showers was accused by some irate youths, believed to belong to the ruling SLPP, as one of the ring leaders of the violent protest who was calling for the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio.
The desperate group of young irate SLPP supporters was seen violently moving towards his house, with some holding sticks, machetes with the objective of physically manhandling him in order to teach him a lesson that he should learn to respect the President and Government of the day.
A reliable source, who intimated this medium on the condition of anonymity, stated that the accused person, Alex Showers, was not even in town when the protest in Freetown occurred. He said that Alex Showers was arrested on the 8th of August 2022 he was arrested and released on 9th August 2022 and the incident took place 10th August 2022.
Besides, it was stated that on three occasions strange voices have been heard, late at night, close to where Alex Showers was residing, speaking in low tones, but upon thorough investigation in the morning hours the owners could not be identified. However, it has been speculated that the voices belong to those who are on the lookout for Alex Showers and two other young men accused of killing a police officer during the August 10 protest.
Although some of those identified, arrested and charged to court for taking part in the August 10th violent protests have been tried in various Magistrate courts, heavily sentenced, there are, however, reports that some people have gone missing for days now.
A relative of Alex Showers, whom one of our reporters spoke with stated that as the political situation in the country continues to become tense with the build up to the 2023 Presidential, Parliamentary and Municipal Elections, it is but advisable for Alex Shower and others accused of involvement in the violent protests to move out of the country.
This was why the family of Alex Showers facilitated his escape to neighboring country Guinea on 11th August 2022.