War breaks out in the SLPP: Maada Bio, John Benjamin supporters clash at party HQ

 

MAADABIOCAPSierra Leone Police had to use tear gas to disperse riotous members of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ) as supporters of the former Presidential candidate, Maada Bio and party chairman John Benjamin, went into grips inside the party headquarters at Wallace Johnson Street , Freetown. Supporters pelted each other with stones and as the security situation quickly deteriorated around the area, Police were summoned who broke up the fighting , engaging in running battles with belligerent supporters on both sides.

Supporters of Mr.Bio allegedly started the chaos when they attacked Mr.Benjamin , accusing him of being a thief , and raining stones on him and supporters. This led to a retaliation from supporters of Benjamin, turning the SLPP Headquarters into a war zone. Both leaders of the SLPP  had been engaged in bitter rivalry and feuds beginning from the run-up to the November 2012 elections but everything was suppressed until the elections had passed when the bitterness between them came into the open , with both men squabbling over who should lead the party after their defeat at the elections.  According to the SLPP, the Chairman remains at the helm until the next national delegates convention, but Maada Bio has refused to respect the constitution, as he tries to take over the leadership of the party.

During the past weeks, both men and their supporters have been hurling abuses and accusations at each other, with party functionaries who worked together during the elections now taking sides between Benjamin and Bio.

Last weekend, the feuds in the party went further in the open when the Publicity Secretary of the SLPP, Mr.Musa Tamba Sam, went on radio and accused John Benjamin of stealing $60,000 from the party coffers. This caused a worsening of relations between Bio and Benjamin, and today Bio supporters took the law into their hands by launching an attack on Benjamin and supporters. Police have quelled the chaos but supporters of both men are sure to continue feuding .

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