By Foday Moriba Conteh
In a Press Release issued by the All People’s Congress (APC) Party on the 30th April 2020 and signed by Ambassador Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh, the National Secretary General of the party, it was categorically highlighted that the party is gravely concern with the developments that took place on the 29th April 2020 at the Pademba Road Maximum Security Male Correctional Centre that led to the burning of Government properties and loss of human lives.
The party’s Executive stated that it is their understanding that there was a riot at the Centre during which the security forces, including the heavily armed Presidential Guard and other security personnel rained live bullets on the prisoners and Prison Officers thought to be in one of the safest places in Sierra Leone. .
“Without prejudice to any of the conflicting reports so far received from Government and media outlets, the APC notes with grave concern that some of the initial video footages that have made their way into the public domain show videos of known SLPP thugs like Tanibola that our sources tell us was never an inmate in that Correctional Centre.
That he now found himself inside the Correctional Centre can only lend credence to the aspersions making the rounds on social and other media that this alleged prison riot was another dastardly ploy by the SLPP and its operatives to kill innocent civilians and inmates including Senior members of our party, in the persons of Major Retired Palo Conteh, Herbert George Williams, Abu Bakar Daramy and Amadu Koita who at the time of the incident were in the custody of the security forces,” the release mentioned.
It went on to maintain how the APC is further appalled by the fact that armed security forces raided the home of Palo Conteh, harassed the occupants of the house and took into custody his innocent wife.
“The whereabouts of our Comrades have since remained unknown and all attempts by the leadership of our Party and the legal team to reach them have proved futile,” the Executive of the party expressed concern.
Again the Press Release contained that reports making the rounds indicate that their comrades are currently being held under very inhumane conditions and the health conditions of some of them have deteriorated significantly.
It was added that the leadership of the APC wished to make it known to President Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP Government that the APC will hold them singularly and collectively responsible if anything is amiss to their Comrades and of course for the innocent lives that were lost during the skirmishes.
The Report continued by stating that the APC is demanding the immediate information on the whereabouts of their comrades, and access to them by their lawyers and leaders of the Party.
It continued that the APC leadership wished to inform their development partners and the international community that the harassment and intimidation of the APC and its members have now reached a level that is unbearable.
Leadership of the party stated the APC can no longer guarantee their partners that they can restrain their members that are seeking for justice and the protection of their fundamental human and basic rights.
The party said they shall continue to consult with their members around the country and in the diaspora on this and related incidents that clearly threaten to undermine the peace and security of the country that they have fought so hard to uphold and protect over the years.