29 January 2013

Sierra Leone: 29 Memorial Foundation Intensify Call for Inquest

His Excellency Dr Ernest Bai Koroma has assured the families of the victims of NPRC extra-judicial killings in 1992 that government will ensure closure to the secrecy surrounding the untimely death of their loved ones on 29th December, 1992.

He made this statement on the occasion of the courtesy call on him by the 29 Memorial Foundation for Peace and Development, an organization aimed at finding justice for the unlawful killing of the 29 persons, including an Inspector General of Police, a senior military commandant, an internationally acclaimed Sierra Leonean actor, and his pregnant girlfriend.

President Koroma went on to note that the claim made by the families of the 29 victims of NPRC extra-judicial killings that the government of Sierra Leone had betrayed the confidence of the aggrieved families, was understandable, saying he can understand the passion they have insofar as seeking justice and closure to the whole issue was concerned.

The chief executive also said that when the issue of redress was first brought up, especially before the recently concluded elections, he thought that it was not expedient and outrightly untimely because of the political undertones attached to the whole issue of finding solutions and answering the questions asked all these years since the incident.

"I cannot give you any definitive answer in terms of time at this moment, but I want to assure you that during the course of my second term, we will definitely ensure that this matter is laid to rest finally," he said, amidst rapturous applause.

The Head of State and Fountain of Honour also noted that government will take a second look at the whole issue of an inquest into the extra-judicial killing of those 29 persons, adding that "anything that will consolidate the peace, anything that will work towards ensuring that the issues that affect Sierra Leoneans are addressed, we will work on it.

In conclusion, President Koroma maintained that government will, in the not too distant future, invite the 29 Foundation for Peace and Development to give them a definitive position on going forward with the matter, "as your request for an inquest is not asking too much. We are not going to open up anything, we're not going to put anybody on trial, but we are going to ensure that the facts of the incident are known, and that as a government it is fair that we give you an opportunity to know the facts, and when you're au fait with the facts, it is now left with you as a family to either forgive and forget, and move forward with your lives."

President of the 29 Memorial Foundation for Peace and Development, James Bambay Kamara Jr. said that they were at State House to inform President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on the strides and efforts they have made as aggrieved families in getting justice for their loved ones who were snatched away from them on 29th December, 1992. He also noted that they are yet to ascertain the facts and reasons for their executions by the NPRC Junta.

"It is in pursuance of these facts and reasons that we the relatives of the 29 victims have decided to come together and exercise our constitutional rights in asking the government of Sierra Leone to set up an inquest that will look into the death of our beloved ones."

Mr. Bambay Kamara Jr. further maintained that "It is our resolve that we will not rest until justice is done and seen to be done. We may not have the financial might to fight, but we certainly do have the human resource and the willpower to fight for our constitutional right to know what happened to our loved ones, some 20 years ago; why today we do not have them around; enough of the scorn; enough of the insults. We cannot take it anymore. No one should underestimate our desire for the truth".

He paid glowing tribute to the gallant soldiers (Col. Yayah Kanu and Major Kawota Dumbuya) who were murdered by the NPRC as well as his father, the late Inspector General of Police and popular philanthropist, James Bambay Kamara Snr.

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