Post- Elections Tension In Nimiyama, Kono

By Alieu Amara Suwu

The aftermath of the just concluded elections has partially brought no peace, stability, or tolerance among people in certain places, despite the calls by the President, civil societies, peace mediators, the media, and even international partners. Such an unhealthy situation is literally exhibited in the Nimiyama Chiefdom in Kono district since the announcement of the 2023 elections, in which the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) emerged as the victor.

The Independent Observer Newspaper was reliably informed about these violent attacks and threats on people perceived to be supporters of the All People’s Congress (APC) and of other ethnicities rather than the Kono ethnicity. An investigation was conducted, and the facts were revealed.

Our sources in the Chiefdom said violence in Nimiyama started just after the announcement of results, a situation that has left a scar on the minds of every peace-loving person in that chiefdom and Kono District at large. The attacks that seem to be well structured and purposeful, according to the source, are directed chastely at the perceived supporters of the APC, especially those from the northern region of Sierra Leone.

In audios, videos watched, and investigations made, PC George Bockarie Torto 111, Paramount Chief of the Chiefdom, who openly showed support for the SLPP, which is against the laws of Sierra Leone, was seen and heard suspending Chief Ibrahim Sesay, a Tribal Head chief of the Temne clan, for failing to influence and convince his people to overwhelmly vote for the SLPP. Chief Ibrahim Sesay confirmed to us his suspension by PC Torto and that he had since left the town for reasons he did not disclose.

“You failed to listen to me and give your votes to SLPP in this Chiefdom when I pleaded with you.  I will not take it lightly with all of those who went against me,” PC Torto said at one of the meetings he called in Sewafe.

Interviews conducted with victims of attacks pointed fingers at the Paramount Chief for creating a “Task force” headed by one Kumba Boway and comprising other thugs within the Chiefdom to carry out all sorts of attacks on those they consider to have refused to vote for SLPP or are APC supporters or sympathizers. They also confirmed that the Paramount Chief has also introduced stiff bylaws to intimidate people and violate their human rights with impunity.

Other inhabitants of the Chiefdom confirmed the term of reference of the Tax Force, such as physical attacks on their perceived ‘enemies’ in Taama Forest, where they attacked the Section Chief physically, Jaiama Sewafe, Ngotown, Masabendu town, and elsewhere known to be strong supporters of APC in the Chiefdom, and to halt northerners (Temnes) from doing farming or mining activity because they failed to support the Paramount Chief in casting their votes in favor of SLPP.

Besides, an authority (anonymous) said the northerners or APC supporters who wish to continue with their farming have been asked to pay NLe 500 to the Task Force; failing to do so, that person would be banned from farming in that chiefdom. Also, in the area of mining, tools and equipment were seized and mining licenses revoked; to get back the equipment, money would be extorted. Some people said that their business had been taken away from them.

Many efforts made to reach out to PC Torto and others proved futile.

The people are calling on the Government and authorities concerned to timely intervene before it turns into a more dangerous security threat that will not be stopped easily. Photo of APC Secretary General Lawyer Lansana Dumbuya

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