Presidential Guards Threaten to Kill 2 Female Sport Journalists
Press Release from the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) dated Sunday 8th September 2019 have indicated that two (2) bodyguards Guards of Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio have threatened to kill two (2) female sports journalists of the state owned Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC).
According to the release, the two close protection bodyguards of president Bio named Sweet and Kposowa assaulted mercilessly Esther Marie Samura and Francess Bernard after the security bodyguards “stormed the commentary boot at the Siaka Steven Stadium during the Leone Stars Vs Lone Stars of Liberia return Leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Preliminary match on 8th September 2019.”
In statement on his Facebook page by the National Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Mohamed Asmieu Bah, he said “it was alleged that they (the president’s bodyguard) went to the commentary booth and told the journalists that their commentary was disturbing the President, the journalists were in disbelief because that was the place that has always been used to do sport commentaries. It was during that process that scuffle ensued and this bodyguard while we were escorting Francess to the upstairs came from nowhere and rushed at the lady asking her to leave the place because she had insulted the President a charge the lady and other journalists denied. He used all his force on the lady, hit her until she fell on the ground.”
Popular Journalist, BBC anchor in Sierra Leone, Umaru Fofana in his Facebook page reported that “in fact the president was seated to the far left of the stand while the journalists were broadcasting from the far right.” Umaru added “Esther said she went to report the matter to the deputy sports minister and as they were approaching the scene of the melee, she identified one of Frances’s attackers. Then, she said, the same person slapped her in front of the minister.”
In addition, in its Press Release, SWASAL says “One of the guards, by the name of Sweet even threatens to kill them with his pistol.”
Meanwhile, below is the press release from SWASAL
The Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL) is saddened by the unfortunate behavior put up by Sweet and Kposowa, closed protection bodyguards to the President Julius Maada Bio.
These two bodyguards unvitedly and in a very aggressive manner, abusing the two SLBC female journalist, stormed the commentary boot at the Siaka Steven Stadium during the Leone Stars Vs Lone Stars of Liberia return Leg of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Preliminary match on 8th September 2019.
These guards named above, did not only beat up these journalists, but abused them and took away the phone one of them was using to run her commentary.
Both Frances Barnard and Esther Marie Samura of SLBC were seriously beaten and manhandled including Alimmamy Kamara a freelance Sport Journalist.
Esther Marie Samurai cell phone was seized by one of the security guards in plain clothes while Alimamy Kamara also lost his phone.
The Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone condemns the act of violence by security personnel against our journalists on duty and we call on the office of the president to fully investigate this incident and bring the culprits to book.
This is the very first time in the history of football in Sierra Leone to see security guards who have no business in the commentary boot to do so in a violent and rude manner without prior warning or any form of suspicious threat against public officials not alone the President.
Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone call on the office of the President to investigate this act of violence that undermines the peaceful nature of the president and bring to book all those responsible for this singular act. The commentary booth is exclusively for the media and this act was done in full view of the international media.
One of the guards, by the name of Sweet even threaten to kill them with his pistol.
Such a statement was unfortunate and uncalled for.
'We want to remind the president about his commitment to peace and security of it's citizens as we strive to push the development of our country.
The journalist is a human being and must be respected and treated as one.
SWASAL assures its members that it will follow this case to the end while formal compliant will be made to our parent body SLAJ.
Sahr Morris Jr
Sports Writers Association Sierra Leone (SWASAL)