Eighteen years since the brutal Freetown Invasion…
By Jarrah Kawusu–Konte
Today January 6 is a day every Sierra Leonean should remember. It marks the 18th anniversary of the January 6th brutal invasion of Freetown.
Today should be a moment of reflection and truth, it should not be a moment of misrepresentation of the facts, it’s should not be a moment to perpetuate negativity… It should be a moment to call out corruption in the public sector, to call out thieves in civil society and thieves in the private sector. It’s a moment to call out and make resolutions against all those tendencies that led Sierra Leone to that dark history.
Those who arrogate to themselves such roles should do so fairly and honestly because it’s also a moment to reflect on the progress we have made 18 years on.
Certainly, Sierra Leone is a better place today than 18 years ago. Our country’s democracy is better than it was 18 years ago, Sierra Leone is by far more cohesive now than 18 years ago. Sierra Leone is by far more peaceful now than 18 years ago. Sierra Leone is certainly better in upholding human rights now than 18 years ago and if some people do not recognise the progress Sierra Leone has made in the last 18 years either because of foxy eyes tinted by political mischief, or by sheer dishonesty, the majority of the people of Sierra Leone clearly see how far we have come and the important gains we have made through our collective efforts. We still have challenges but we have certainly move forward; Sierra Leone is certainly not where it was 18 years ago!!
May the souls of the departed rest in peace!
JANUARY 6, 1999 WAS CAUSED BY POOR LEADERSHIP
By Idrissa Conteh —
Following the restoration of the democratically elected government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in March 1999, the priority of his government would have been security!
However, this was not the case. Having reversed the 1997 coup d’etat, the extremely fragile SLPP administration comported itself as if that was the end of the war though scores of people were being massacred in the countryside.
If the SLPP administration had wisdom and foresight, it would have embanked upon the massive recruitment and training of military personnel equipped with the necessary military gears to pile pressure on the rebels and eventually force them to surrender.
After the overthrow of the AFRC led by Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma, the security of the state remained in the hands of ECOMOG troops who were thinly deployed across the country.
Some of the deployments I saw in Kambia, Port Look, Moyamba and Makeni could be best described as suicide missions. Some of these areas had less than 20 soldiers!
So, when the rebels started consolidating their positions following a fake ceasefire deal with the SLPP administration, it was so easy for them to overrun the ECOMOG troops positions in the interior as they advanced towards Freetown.
As the rebels kept advancing to Freetown, the Minister of Information, Julius Spencer, put out a stupid propaganda material on the SLBS radio dismissing rumours of an imminent attack on Freetown as a mere tyre fire at Cline Town.
Instead of making a well planned military strategy to keep the rebels at arm’s length, the SLPP chose to fight them with a battalion of lies!
The rebels invaded Waterloo twice killing scores of people and razing many houses to the ground. The SLPP didn’t know what to do to counter the rebel assaults.
A journalist, Dominick Kabbah Kargbo who likened the rebel numbers to manna from heaven was arrested and detained at the CID for merely telling the BBC that the rebels had the capacity to retake Waterloo at anytime.
I was in Wellington when I was violently woken up by heavy machine gun sounds around midnight. Tens of thousands of people infiltrated by heavily armed rebels headed towards the Western part of the city.
ECOMOG troops retreated towards the Western Area. I joined the crowd with my two junior brothers but we rushed into the old City hotel as ECOMOG troops engaged the rebels at Lightfoot Boston Street with unending exchange of fire.
The rebels came to the hotels and screened us as they wanted know whether we had soldiers or kamajors among us.
The rebels asked us to return to the East as they said they had come to liberate us.
We jumped over scores of dead bodies from Lightfoot Boston Street Wellington.
At the PWD Junction, we were stopped by a killer group. The scene was one of houses in flames, dead bodies and persons wailing in agony. The rebels asked me to sit on the floor. I obeyed at once. All those fleeing with me stopped and begged the rebels to free. They told them I was a good tailor in the community.
The rebels told me to get up and off load myself. I was dressed in a jean suite which they wanted. I took off my jean trousers and top and handed them to the rebels whose guns were all pointed at me.
Another rebel took my pair of sneakers and belt. I could not move when they asked me to go! An old man came to my back and pushed me into the crowd. We ran together.
I stayed with my colleague journalist, Abdul Kandeh Turay for 3 weeks at Thunder Hill.
As the massacres and amputations continued, Spencer told the BBC that the entire city had been liberated only for people who attempted to flee to safe areas to be killed in large numbers like flies.
Two ministers, Dr. YM Khroma and Mr. MB Sesay who had gone to help evacuate their relatives fell into rebel nets at Goderich Street and were slaughtered at the Kissy Road cemetery like cows.
To be continued…
WHY SIERRA LEONEANS SHOULD NOT ACCEPT ALIE KABBA SLPP FLAG BEAR CANDIDATE
Just connecting the dots…
Alie Kabba assumed the position of co-ordinator of the RUF and he caused the divergence of paths and purpose of the RUF because of his corruption. The trainees in Libya accused him of “sitting on millions of dollars” and benefiting from their recruitment for training. Alie Kabba was the key ideological driving force of the RUF. He decided to opt out after stealing millions of dollars. Into resultant leadership vacuum, Foday Sankoh and a handful of cohorts led an insurgency alongside Charles Taylor’s NPFL an insurgency which reduces Sierra Leone to rabble. Should we accept someone like Alie Kabba?
Alie Kabba willfully and knowingly contracted a second marriage (or going through the form of a second marriage) while his first marriage, to his knowledge, is still subsisting and undissolved [BIGAMY]. He also falsely swear, and violated oath or a vow, which he violated by voluntarily swearing to false facts, or to what is untrue [PERJURY]. Should we accept someone like Alie Kabba?
I know Alie Kabba far too well for his own comfort! He was made the first democratic President of once “CHICAGOLAND ASSOCIATION OF SIERRA LEONEANS”, and behind the backs of his colleagues he converted the group into his personal property by changing it into a “Service” community project of his, fired every Sierra Leoneans, hired a single uneducated Liberian girl, [WOMAN LAPPA] and changed the name to UAO.. There is no Sierra Leonean left in the group that was created by Sierra Leoneans. Should we accept someone like Alie Kabba?
Personally, I have my doubts, and what I told some of his supporters that they did not believe are coming to pass now. Some even called me to thank me after finding out themselves and eventually quitting him! Just be warned, Alie Kabba is as sly as the fox.
Some 17 years ago on a cold harmattan Wednesday morning, the whole of Freetown had been sieged by rebels and sobels killing people, laming others and destroying properties. In this wanton destruction, my father met his untimely death in his resident at Krootown Road. We missed him but we have nothing to do than to thank God as Christians. Rest In Peace Boys!!! THOMAS JOSEPHUS DIXON