By Sampson Cole in Freetown

Thursday July 22, 2004

The Westside Boys who have been incarcerated in Prison
over two years now, for various charges on murder and
other related crimes, yesterday went berserk at the
Central Maximum Prison, Pademba Road. Other military
colleagues who are standing trial for the attempted
coup at the former Aureol Tobacco Company (ATC)
compound, which now houses a military ammunition
depot, joined them in their riotous act.

Reliable sources within the Prisons Department confirmed the
news, indicating that the two sets of suspects brought
pandemonium within the prisons as they went berserk
early yesterday morning. The source indicated that it
all started early in the morning when their various
cells were opened for the suspect to prepare
themselves for appearance at the High Court.
Suddenly, like a thunderous roar the two groups put
into motion their riotous scheme, causing a lot of
panic within the confines of the prison.

The Prisons Officer, who confirmed the panic- stricken incident,
said that he was extremely shocked to see the two
groups running helter skelter all over the Prison with
deadly weapons. He affirmed to Awoko that he is quite
sure that these suspects secured the weapons from the
blacksmith section where Prisoners learn trades while
in confinement. Their actions, he said, denied other
inmates who should have appeared in the various
Magistrate Courts, impossible. These other inmates
were so afraid, that they had to take shelter, to
prevent them being harmed by the wild-looking groups.

The Prison Officer further maintained that when the
situation had calmed down, he was able to learn from
one of the riotous Westside Boys that their action was
to send a message to the authorities, that efforts
should be made to speed up their trial which had been
going on at a snail pace over the last two years. The
complaint, he gathered, from the Wellington Treason
squad was that the Judiciary is effecting undue
punishment on them, as their trial is being prolonged.

However, when the dust had settled, Prisons
authorities were able to bring the two sets of
suspects to court. The Wellington Treason squad
appeared before Justice Bankole Rashid at the Freetown
High Court where the bar in now addressing the bench
in the case. The Westside Boys were seen at the lock-
up cells of the Law Court building in a quiet mood,
after their case was adjourned. As these two groups
went on the war path within the prisons yesterday
morning, it was reported that some Prisons Officer for
fear of their life, immediately removed their uniform,
while outside the Operational Support Division of the
Sierra Leone Police was in attendance to forestall any
breakage from the hungry riotous suspects.

Human and vehicular traffic around the Prisons were diverted and
during an on the spot investigation of the scene, a
National Fire Force vehicle was seen parked few yards
from the main entrance. Even shops and those living
around the area, became panicky, as the news filtered
from inside the Prison that these two groups had gone
berserk. However as we go to Press, traffic had
resumed around that area, as the dust had been

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