By Awareness Times (with some materials culled from The Organiser)…..
A Sierra Leonean was kidnapped in Bo City two days ago on 28th April 2021, in broad daylight for simply criticising the SLPP government of President Julius Maada Bio whilst praising the former president and his erstwhile APC Government. The man identified as Micheal Mansaray had criticised Bio in a live social media video on the day before he was kidnapped. Awareness Times has tried to get a reaction from the Office of the Government Spokesman to the kidnap of Michael but for over 24 hours now since the kidnap, nobody in Government has been willing to speak to this newspaper on record.
President Bio was recently praised for upholding civil liberties including by repealing laws that made it a crime to criticise the President. However, despite the perception of civil liberties, incidents like the kidnap of Michael Mansaray stains the credentials of the country under President Bio’s leadership.
“Never oppose the corrupt SLPP government. It is taboo whether President Bio kills or steals! Clap for the PAOPA for doing bad, they will hail you! Democracy undermined big time! However, citizens who know their rights will continue to criticise no matter the risks,” wrote Abu Shaw, a journalist and editor of THE ORGANISER, a newspaper based in London.
Michael Mansaray, the critic of the President, was forcefully kidnapped as his kidnappers video-taped the brutal and inhuman kidnap. The kidnap followed after Micheal openly criticised the SLPP government in the April 27th video for what he said was an abysmal governance and what he claimed to be the lack of development for the past three years in power.
Michael was seen on video standing in front of the Bo Stadium, wearing black in solidarity with a peaceful Black Protest that had been slated to hold nationwide on April 27. The call to protest was widely ignored but Michael bravely did his video criticism on the day.
Frighteningly, Michael was not arrested by the police, according to the latest reports. Sources and a video of the kidnap recorded by the kidnappers themselves, show that Micheal was apprehended half naked by a gang of ostensible supporters of the President who were dressed in civilian clothes.
They bundled Michael into a waiting black SUV vehicle and drove off recklessly.
As of last night, friends of Michael in Bo City, the headquarter of the southern province, told journalists that his whereabouts could not be ascertained. Friends have checked the various police stations in Bo to confirm whether Michael was in their custody. The police have however disclosed that Michael was not arrested by their officers.
This shocking development has sent fears for the health and safety of Michael who proudly told the world that he is a member of the main opposition APC party. His friends and family members are reportedly worried for the safety of Michael considering the heinous crimes the SLPP supporters were noted for and still are. The SLPP supporters had committed and continue to commit serious human rights abuses especially against citizens who oppose the SLPP misrule.
Standing tall in front of the Bo Mini Stadium on Tuesday 27th April, Michael narrated how proud and appreciable the people of Sierra Leone are for the Bo Mini Stadium that was constructed during President Koroma’s APC government. He said despite Bo City being a stronghold of the SLPP party, Ernest Koroma’s only focus was national development.
“We should appreciate what Ernest Koroma has done here. President Bio has not done anything for us here,” Michael noted on the video.
Michael narrated further: “Former President Koroma has done lots of good things in Bo. Besides the Bo Stadium where President Bio often used during his official visits, Ernest Koroma also constructed Tikonko Road, which was in very bad shape in 2007. The other roads Ernest Koroma made in Bo include Dambara Road, Hospital Road, Kissy Town Road, Bojon Street. He did lots of things here for us to be proud of than Maada Bio. What has Maada Bio done for us here that can make us proud? Nothing, unless the killings. Luckily, there are no killings in Bo, yet,” Michael said on the video.
“Even the Bo/Kenema Highway was constructed by the former President Ernest Koroma. President Bio was bold to lie to us that he would give Bo electricity in December. Up till now, we have not got light. We do not know whether he meant this coming December or last December. President Bio has not done anything good here in Bo. So why shouldn’t we praise Ernest Koroma? We are telling him Thank you!” Michael stressed in his video.
Bo City, being a stronghold of the ruling SLPP government makes the environment risky for an APC supporter like Michael to video himself in front of the Mini Stadium built during the tenure of Ernest Koroma and bravely praised him publicly whilst condemning the current President.
“Exercising civil liberties now seems to be a crime for citizens in Sierra Leone under President Bio,” said Abu Shaw.
Meanwhile, the APC hierarchy has also been urged to act quickly for the release of their Comrade Michael. As we, at the Awareness Times Newspaper, go to press, Michael’s whereabout is still unclear and the Government and the Police are keeping their lips sealed on the matter.
©️ Awareness Times Newspaper
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