By Tony Konomanyi
What you’re about to read has been the most difficult and emotionally taxing piece I have ever written; my heart, and my soul, bleed, as I write.
I’m about to tell you the sad story of Niyema Keita, a 38-yr-old mother of three, who was busy in her home on August 10, 2022, when disaster struck.
Presidential lodge guards, angered by the audacity of some Sierra Leoneans, who had dared to protest over conditions under the government of President Maada Bio, drove down to Eastern Freetown to wreck havoc on the locals.
Amongst them were “Angry/Hungry Lion, Benny, and Commissioner of anti-smuggling at the NRA, Senessie.
Their indiscriminate firing would claim many innocent lives that day.
Police Officers, Protestors and people within the assumed safety of their homes, people like Niyema Keita, would be murdered on that day; and the President, without proof or reasonability, would choose to escalate an already tense situation, by branding many in Eastern Freetown “Insurrectionists and coupists”.
President Bio’s incendiary comments would lead to further extrajudicial killings of innocent Sierra Leoneans, by the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Lahai Lawrence Leema, who was video-recorded leading a band of thugs, as they dragged young people out of their homes, in the hours after the protests had ceased; disappearing with many to unknown locations, where they’d meet predictable faiths; many remain unaccounted for – presumed buried in unknown graves.
Niyema Keita, like many others who lost their lives on that day, had chosen to stay at home, rather than risk being caught up in any violence that may result from the protests.
The petty trader, family breadwinner, and mother of three young children, was hit by a bullet fired by the reckless and murderous Presidential Security team.
She died instantly.
Niyema Keita was looking forward to getting married on the 25th of September, 2022.
Sadly, what would most certainly have been one of the most memorable moments of her life – her wedding day – would not be.
I’ve attached a video showing the blood-strewn floor of her home; her blood.
May the souls of all those who were murdered that day by President Bio’s guards find peace in the bosom of our Lord.
A few days ago, President Maada Bio, having refused the families of the deceased access to the corpses of their loved ones, ordered that the dead be buried by the state, in unmarked graves.
Bio’s government released a statement falsely claiming that the murdered victims were being buried by the state, with the “full collaboration of families”.
This could not have been further from the truth.
Ironically, the same presser states that bereaved families were given NLE 20,000 each, even as the presser brands the deceased “Insurrectionists” ; which is an insult to the murdered victims and their families.
The tears and wailing of the families, as they stood by, powerless, as armed military personnel guarded the dumping of the bodies, will haunt me for life, and demonstrates very clearly that there had been no collaboration with families.
Every Sierra Leonean, and the world, must demand for answers.
What is the motive of the President’s heartless and tyrannical action?
Who were buried?
It is believed that the actual bodies of the victims of the Presidential guards have been disposed of, chemically, to avoid forensic analysis, after President Bio would have left office.
I have been informed by reliable sources that those wooden coffins which were buried a few days ago contained the unclaimed remains of vagrants, the mentally ill, and the homeless, who died in the previous months, and who, as is custom, are often buried en-masse by the state.
The President and his cohorts will not get away with this devilish act, of that I’m absolutely certain.
Yet, I’m devastated, because of the damage which this most barbaric and psychopathic President has done to the fabric of our Sierra Leone.
May God help us all.