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Presidential Guards Assaulted Two Female Journalist During Leone Stars vs Lone Star Match

Press Statement from the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone on the assault of two female sports journalists by President of Sierra Leone’s bodyguards ”Sweet” and ”Kposowa” at the National Stadium 8 Sept 2019
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The Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone(SWASAL) is saddened by the unfortunate behavior put up by Sweet and Kposowa, close protection bodyguards to President Julius Maada Bio.

These two bodyguards unvitedly and in a very aggressive manner, abused two SLBC female journalists by storming the commentary booth at the Siaka Stevens Stadium during the Leone Stars Vs Lone Stars return leg encounter.

These guards, 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 Francess Barnard and Esther Marie Samura of the SLBC were seriously beaten and manhandled including Alimmamy Kamara a freelance Sports Journalist.

Esther Marie Samura’s cell phone was seized by one of the security guards in mufti 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 booth behave in such 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 calls on the office of the President to thoroughly investigate this act of violence and bring to book all those responsible for this barbaric act.

The commentary booth is exclusively for the media and this act was done in full view of the international media as well.

One of the guards, by the name of Sweet even threatened to shoot and 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 his 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.

Signed
Sahr Morris Jr
*National Secretary General (SWASAL)*

Amid all the angst and excitement at the stadium today, presidential guards beat up two female sports journalists. Frances Bernard-Bundor and Esther Maray Samoura – both working for the state broadcaster SLBC – were violently attacked by guards who said their commentary box was right above where President Julius Maada Bio was seated. In fact the president was seated to the far left of the stand while the journalists were broadcasting from the far right. Frances was beaten during an altercation that followed the commentary box incident. She said between three and five guards – some uniformed others in mufti – beat her up severely. Her colleague 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. During the altercation with the minister, Esther said she took out her phone to record events when she was attacked again and beaten up severely leaving her dress torn. Her phone was taken away by her attackers, she said. Some of the guards told me that Frances had insulted the president which she vehemently denied. The alleged chief attacker wouldn’t talk to me.

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