By Amadu Lamrana Bah.
Liberian journalist, Siatta-Scott-Johnson, had a nasty farewell at Hotel Barmoi, Aberdeen, Freetown, after she was attacked and held under gun-point on her final day as guest.
Siatta, a Liberian Television Presenter, left Freetown in shock and fear last Saturday, 10th June, 2017, for Liberia after her unfortunate ordeal.
The armed attacker, she claimed, took away her laptop computer, audio recorder, money, jewelleries and even her wedding ring.
Siatta and her Liberian colleagues were in Freetown to attend an International Training on doing investigative stories on the aftermath of the Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The training, which was organised and funded by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, brings together journalists, who were selected through an application process, for a week with most of them, including the two foreign trainers, lodged at the Barmoi Hotel.
“At about 1:30am I woke up to a strange noise, and I went to the bathroom. Returning, I shockingly saw someone standing with a gun pointed at me; then I realise that I was not alone in the room,” narrated Siatta.
She said on an attempt to run out of the room the attacker threatened to shoot and kill her if she made any moves whilst demanding for her money, and went ahead searching for it himself.
“He emptied all my bags and shook every piece of my clothes; he opened every drawer, cupboard and closet; he grabbed my phone and attempted to get closer to me; that was when I cried and begged for mercy,” Siatta explained.
The Management of Barmoi Hotel has refused to speak on the matter after several calls.
The Aberdeen Police Station, where Siatta reported the incident before leaving for Liberia, confirmed that they were investigating the matter and would conclude soon.
Local Unit Commander, Supt. Aiah Edward Samadia, said they have visited the scene and watched a CCTV recording which has caused them to invite a security and another staff working at the hotel.
“One of the doors at the scene seems to be damaged, but we are still investigating and hope to conclude soon,” Samadia assured.
The National Tourist Board supervises and regulates hotels and guest houses in the country and its General Manager, Yassin Kargbo, said they are concerned about such news especially when the Board is working to rebrand the country.
“We are concerned when we hear news like this and we are looking forward to the outcome of the Police investigations,” Kargbo noted.
Siatta, who is still grappling with the shock, said she is gripped by fear whenever the thought of what happened that morning comes to mind.
“I left Liberia for Freetown with joy and enthusiasm; we share a lot of things in common and I thought I was going to a friend’s house. However, I am not sure I will ever return based on my experience, and the fact that I was almost killed,” she lamented.