By Fatmata Jengbe
Sulaiman Tejan Sesay, a former pupil of the St Francis Secondary School, is now missing after he narrowly escaped death at the hands of desperate Police Officers in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone.
He was among the protesters in Makeni, sometime in 2020, who revolted against the forceful removal of a standby generator from Makeni to the Freetown International Airport by Government officials with the aid of Police Officers.
According to Abdul (an eyewitness), on the 27th of October 2020, he saw three trucks loaded with armed Police Officers moving towards Azzolini Highway in Makeni. He decided to follow them and hid somewhere that he could not be easily seen.
He continued that as the trucks slowed down, in doom and gloom, he heard the first boom! Some Police Officers surrounded a particular house as others were firing guns rapidly while trying to gain entrance into the house.
“The belligerence caused me to take further cover in a nearby bush to a position where I could glimpse everything that was going on,” he continued adding that from where he was hiding, he saw a young man that looked like someone in his late twenties jumping the fence of the house that was under attack.
Abdul furthered that he beckoned to the young man to join him where he was hiding as he thought the place was safe and they could not be easily detected.
He said it was at that point that he heard the sound of a megaphone and upon listening carefully, the Police Officer echoed, “Sulaiman Tejan Sesay, Come out and surrender yourself or you will regret it”. The Police emphasized, “Sulaiman, as you have injured some of our colleagues, you will never molest a Police Officer again in your life, come out of your hiding you coward”.
Abdul revealed that at that very moment he noticed that the young man who had joined him in his hiding was trembling like an Ebola patient. He said when he asked why he was shivering as such; panic-stricken, the young man confessed that he is the Sulaiman that the Police Officers desperately wanted.
He continued that when the situation came to a halt; after realizing Sulaiman was not showing up and no trace of him was found; the Police Officers decided to call off the raid to search the next houses and apartments. Sulaiman seized the opportunity and escaped, he affirmed. “Out of curiosity and pity, I escorted him to Yoni (a nearby village),” he stated.
He said Sulaiman informed him that he was among those who believed to stage a stout protest against the Police when it became noticeable that the standby generator sometimes used to generate electricity for Makeni city was about to be forcefully removed and transferred to the Freetown International Airport in Lungi; an act which they deemed as depriving Makeni of its bona fide generator, underscoring that they understood at that particular moment that it was a decision that was politically motivated and orchestrated.
The eyewitness said Sulaiman speculated that politics was at play and because Makeni city is considered to be the stronghold of the main opposition APC party – a party that he is loyal to, that was why the ruling SLPP Government wants to deprive residents of a standby generator solely meant for the city.
He stated how Sulaiman and others vowed that such will never happen and therefore resisted the removal of the generator during a protest mounted in which one of his brothers by the name of Mohamed was shot at close range by the Police and died a few minutes later.
“Sulaiman explained to me that after four other young protesters were shot and killed, they (protesters) decided to retreat and hide,” the eye witness intimated furthering that the Police, therefore, decided to round up all the suspects of the protest but could not confirm whether they were wanted for prosecution or to fire and kill them on the spot.
However, he confirmed that with the heavy guns firing he saw on that fateful day he is of the firm conviction that if the Police had set eyes on any of the alleged perpetrators, including Sulaiman, they should have shot them on sight.
“I advised Sulaiman not to venture upon returning to Makeni stressing that if he has any safe place to hide for the moment, even out of the country, that will be fine and better for his life,” he recounted informing that he also admonished him to briefly stay at the village and he will visit him in two days to help him out with some clothes and food items.
“Upon my return to the village on the 29th of October 2020 I was told that Sulaiman Tejan Sesay has sneaked out of the village and before he left he told his host, Amidu, that he had signed a deal with an agent, Abu Dubai (as he is fondly called and known for modern-day slavery) to help him escape from the country,” the eyewitness concluded adding that since that day he never set eyes on Sulaiman Tejan Sesay.
This medium contacted the Head of Communication of the Sierra Leone Police, Superintendent Brima Kamara, who confirmed that Sulaiman Tejan Sesay, Idriss Kamara, Alie Conteh and others are wanted for riotous conduct.