The current sitting Member of Parliament of Constituency 056, Sambaia Chiefdom, in the Tonkolili District, Northern Sierra Leone, Alhaji Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh, commonly known as Musa Bendugu, now stands accused of ordering the attack and beating of three journalists in the chiefdom. The three journalists are Ibrahim Mansaray aka Hebro of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) based in Makeni, Abdul M Jalloh of Hamzas Radio Station in Makeni and Foday Moriba Conteh of The Calabash Newspaper in two separate incidents. It must be noted that the two narrowly escaped from the Chiefdom on the 24th December 2019 and Foday was seriously beaten with his properties carted away from him on the 4th January 2020 while he was carrying out a special assignment for his news medium.
The whole episode started on the 24th December, 2019 when a Community Based Civil Society Organization, Put Sambaia Chiefdom First, whose membership comprise some young people hailing from that part of the country and very keen to see the materialization of positive developments geared towards improving the standards of living of residents convened a meeting in the chiefdom to chart the way forward with regards progress.
According to thorough investigations conducted by this medium, on that fateful day (24th December 2019), the well-attended meeting was in progress when all of a sudden some violent youths, said to have been sent by the Member of Parliament, Alhaji Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh, descended on the scene and rudely disrupted the whole meeting, physically manhandling most of those in attendance including the Founder of the Community Based Civil Society Organization, Abu Bakarr D S Jalloh. The latter was seriously beaten in the full view of Regent Chief and other authorities.
The two journalists; one from the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) based in Makeni, Ibrahim Mansaray aka Hebro and another, Abdul M Jalloh of Hamzas Radio Station (Makeni) were violently chased and narrowly escaped death.
Founder of the organization ,Abu Bakarr, sustained injuries and bodily pain after he was rescued from the clutches of his assailants, who are purportedly Karifa Thoronka aka ‘Fine Money’, Foray Musa Jalloh aka Banja (son of the sitting Member of Parliament), Yusuf Conteh, Abu Mohamed Sesay aka Borbor Abu, (who is accused of destroying the banner of the CSO and even burnt it), Bockarie Musa Jalloh (another son of Hon. Musa), Momodu Kamara, Ibrahim G Koroma aka Selleh Borbor and Osman Koroma aka Konday.
In a snap interview with the Founder of the Community Based Organisation (CBO), Put Sambaia Chiefdom First, Abu Bakarr D S Jalloh, he disclosed that as a young man from that part of the country, he decided to establish the organization with the key objective of promoting equal access to social justice and development devoid of any political affiliation or attachment. He furthered that at the moment there is heightened political intimidation and harassment within that chiefdom, that have instilled fear among residents to freely exercise their inalienable fundamental human rights. “It is against this backdrop that we decided to come together to restore sanity and foster development in the chiefdom,” Bakarr underscored, pointing out that what transpired on the 24th December 2019 is a clear manifestation of the rising level of political harassment that have engulfed the whole chiefdom.
He continued that the incident was reported at the Police Station, was issued a medical form, went for medical examination and returned the form to the Police Station only to be told that he should report the matter to the Legal Aid Board.
He pointed out that they are against using violence to attain their objective, stating that even when he was attacked, certain people wanted to react and also after the incident some wanted to retaliate, but as a peaceful individual he advised them not to go that far.
Bakarr disclosed that the community residents are yearning for a suitable market place, a befitting Court Barray, Community Centre and other basic amenities. He lamented that monies collected from the exploitation of the chiefdom’s endowed natural resources by authorities have not been judiciously used for development purposes by the chiefdom authorities, including the Member of Parliament, stressing that they are determined to change that narrative.
What has baffled many is why the Police should refer the complainant to the Legal Aid Board instead of inviting the perpetrators and the Member of Parliament for interrogation.
It could be recalled that the sitting Member of Parliament, Alhaji Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh commonly known as, Musa Bendugu, is one the aspirants for the Paramount Chieftaincy election slated to take place on the 22nd February 2020 after declaration would have taken place at the National Electoral Commission (NEC) on the 8th February 2020. However, many have alleged that he is disliked and very unpopular because of his violent tendencies, partiality, selfishness, greed for power and lack of transparency. It was further disclosed that because of his inadequacies, Alhaji Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh has resorted to the use of violent tactics to suppress anybody or group perceived to stand in his way, as well as anyone demanding accountability from him relating to how the chiefdom funds were and are still expended.
When this medium contacted Alhaji Musa Bamba Foray Jalloh in order to get his own side in this saga, he retorted that he cannot comment until after the New Year holiday.
Since for the sake of fairness we are ready and willing to publish the MP’s own side, the Proprietor of The Calabash Newspaper called the Member of Parliament for the second time on the 4th January 2020 to know whether he is ready to grant us an interview. He invited us to meet him at the chiefdom and therefore decided to send one of its ace reporters, Foday Moriba Conteh, to engage the Member of Parliament.
It was there and then that hell got loose for Foday as he was mercilessly beaten and his properties including a large amount of money in his possession carted away. He was later rescued by the Police who took him to the Police Station. The Member of Parliament then went to the station and told the Police that Foday must be detained as an impostor. Up to the time of going to Press, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Police have been alerted. Frantic moves are now underway for his release.
As we continue to monitor the situation, more on this human interest story in subsequent editions…