RETIRED ARMY CAPTAIN FRANCIS KEN JOSIAH RESPONDS TO KAI LEBBIE
Mr Kai Lebbie may be right about the appalling conditions in the army during President Momoh’s administration, but the hasty generalization that “…the military in Sierra Leone were also rebels” is an unfair and irresponsible allegation that questions the patriotism of the 2073 private soldiers, 1769 Corporals, 317 Sergeants, 95 Staff Sergeants, 43 warrant officers, 81 lieutenants, 10 captains, 8 majors, a lieutenant colonel, unknown numbers of the special security division (SSD), of the police and vigilantes who lost their lives between 1991 to 1996.
It is an absolute travesty to the sacred memory of the estimated 10,000 honorable citizens who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our country from the RUF- NPFL coalition. It is understandable if people refuse to appreciate the service of our troops, but they need not be castigated as “rebels” or national enemies. To categorize the whole “military as the rebels” is to question the priceless service of combatants who placed their lives in harms way to deny the RUF access to power.
And, if the military were rebels, why would the RUF kill an estimated 10,000 of their own? Who were the combatants bearing the brunt of RUF attacks, ambushes, landmines, abductions and summary executions. Or Better still, who shot the thousands of troops including Guinean troops, Nigerian soldiers, ULIMO friendly forces from Liberia, Ghurkas, South African executive outcomes, housed in government hospitals in Kenema, Bo and Freetown?
Mr. Kai Lebbie’s claim that he “ could prove with facts that many of my people in Kono – Gandorhun, were killed by military officers” without offering the facts, exemplifies the content of misinformation which crippled the ability of the military’s propaganda machinery to alienate the RUF.
The continued silence of the military to counter strings of unfounded and baseless allegations, reinforces the tactical incompetence of the military leadership. It confirms why and how the military lost the psychological phase of a war whose success depends on persuading public opinion through fact based reports.
While Mr Kai Lebbie has unfettered rights to his personal opinion, if he cannot offer qualitative proof of soldiers engaged in dual roles, especially between 1991 to 1996, his allegations remain a cacophony grounded in statistical fallacy. One few bad apples cannot destroy the taste of the rest.
Francis Ken Josiah (Ret. Captain.)