Post-Election Violence… 2000 Displaced

 

It has been confirmed by Paramount Chief Kasanka III of Masimera Chiefdom in Tonkolili district and by the Tonkolili Office of National Security (ONS) Coordinator that close to two thousand people of mostly Northern origin are sheltering in Masingbi after fleeing their homes in Kono district for fear of their lives.

According to PC Kasanka’s account, places like Sandiya and Masabendu in Nimiyama Chiefdom which were largely populated by Northerner migrants are virtually ghost towns.

The involuntary relocation of these people from their places of residence in mostly Nimiyama Chiefdom in Kono district to Masingbi and other places in the Northern Province such as Makeni, Port Loko and Kambia is reportedly not unconnected with the outcome of the presidential run-off election on 31sr March which the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) presidential candidate, Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio won.

Confirmation of the fact that random attacks have been unleashed on APC supporters in some parts of the country comes from a public notice signed by the Inspector General of Police dated 5thApri,  2018 that reads: “The SLP has learnt with dismay that there is a wave of unwarranted targeted attacks on persons and properties across the country including business premises and offices by some unscrupulous persons…”

To put the Kono exodus story in proper perspective and context, the people of Kono had since 2015 developed malice for both the Leader and Chairman of the All People’s Congress (APC) and the party. The reason being, according to the Kono people, both the APC leader and the party connived to expel their countryman Chief Alhaji Samuel Sam Sumana from the party and the APC Chairman and Leader, who was then the country’s President, later sacked him as the country’s elected Vice President.

Kono people did not take kindly to the disgraceful treatment meted out to their countryman by their Northern comrades. So when Chief Sam Sumana formed the Coalition for Change (C4C) party to contest the 2018 national elections, the people of Kono voted overwhelmingly for him and in the presidential run-off election, they cast their votes for the SLPP presidential candidate instead of casting them for the APC presidential candidate.

Apparently, within the election period, a lot of antagonism took place between Northerners resident in Kono and their hosts that spilled over into violence and intimidation after the APC was voted out of power.

Meanwhile, PC Torto, one of the Kono leaders denied on Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation (SLBC) radio that the chiefs gave orders for Northerners living in their territory to vacate, querying that if they did not give such orders during previous elections, why should they do so now. PC Torto assured that all was calm in Kono district.