Political Violence Escalates in Sierra Leone: Wanted Activist’s Family Residence Attacked, One Dead

Braima Bangura
Braima Bangura

By Francess Wright

As the June 24, 2023 General Elections approach in Sierra Leone, the country is witnessing a dangerous surge in political tension between the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party. This escalating rivalry has resulted in bloody clashes with severe consequences.

Recently, the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) set the registration period for eligible voters, starting on September 3, 2022, and ending on October 3, 2022. However, as the registration deadline approaches, the atmosphere remains charged with fear and uncertainty.

Amidst these turbulent times, there have been repeated calls from Civil Society Organizations and religious groups for the public to reject all forms of political violence and ensure a peaceful outcome for the upcoming elections.

However, the situation took a tragic turn when the family residence of a prominent political activist, Braima Bangura, became the target of a wanton attack. Braima Bangura was known as both a wanted political activist and a Constituency Chairman for the incumbent APC Party in Makeni.

The attack occurred last night, leaving one family member dead and others fleeing for their lives. Eyewitnesses confirmed that the assailants, dressed in T-shirts associated with the ruling party, forcefully entered the residence.

According to witnesses, the assailants demanded to know the whereabouts of Braima Bangura, accusing him of attempting to register for the elections and manipulate the results in favor of the APC Party’s Presidential Candidate, Samura Kamara. When confronted by one family member denying Bangura’s presence, the attackers reacted violently, leading to the tragic loss of life.

Braima Bangura, who had been wanted since the 2018 Presidential runoff election period, was reportedly on a list of potential opposition troublemakers targeted by the ruling party. The political vendetta and clashes between SLPP and APC supporters before and after the March 7, 2018 Polls contributed to the ongoing animosity.

In the aftermath of the 2018 elections, attacks against opposition activists allegedly increased, with reports of nocturnal assaults, extra-judicial killings, and threats perpetrated by members of the Presidential Guards. The situation in Makeni, considered an APC stronghold, was particularly tense, with Braima Bangura being linked to violent clashes between APC and SLPP supporters.

Despite repeated attempts to apprehend him, Bangura managed to evade capture, seeking refuge in neighboring Guinea. His family, however, continues to suffer the consequences of his political involvement.

In the wake of this recent attack, the nation stands united in calling for an end to clandestine political violence against perceived activists. The authorities must ensure the safety of citizens and uphold their fundamental rights, fostering an environment of peace and security in the lead-up to the crucial elections.



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