Opinions' free; Facts are sacred
MONDAY JULY 10TH 2000
Don’t be surprised if you hear this name as you move around the city. When you use Jomo Kenyatta Road up to Brook fields Hotel,` just greet them, KAMABOYZ; you are sure to receive a friendly welcome.
The heavy rains had just subsided during that night when residents of Jomo Kenyatta Road, Brookfields and New England and passers-bye were rudely awoken by heavy gun-fire. It was heavier than those of the intervention and the January 6.
The sounds of guns reminded me of those fateful days. I thought it were another rebel attack on the city again. When the sounds of gun-fire became heavier and more rapid, I said my prayer and went to bed. After a while, still hearing fire, I tuned my radio to FM 98.1 “Democracy” to know why there was that kind of sporadic firing from that end.
Just a little while later, you know 98.1 D IS VERY prompt. That station went out with the information that they were receiving telephone calls from those areas I memtioned including Sorie Town and Pendemba Road that there was heavy firing going on. The annoncer informed the ‘authorities’ to try to know what was happening at that end of town.
Then I started guessing that it could be that it was the rebels who had come to town and were ready to free their men and women from Pademba Road ‘maximum’ prisons. So many things crossed my mind. When the firing finally died down, I ventured out but was afraid. I gave up finally and I dozed off until morning.
You know I am a Sierra Leonean and I speak most of our local languages. I went around Brookfields Hotel, the headquarters of the Kamaboyz, to try to know why there was firing from that end, if they were the ones that were engaged in that act. I got two stories. One Kamaboyz told me that a rebel opened fire at their colleague and so they responded adequately.
I started wondering if it were one rebel, according to this Kamaboyz, who opened fire, then the response to that one rebel fire was too much. I told him that, if that were so then one or two shots were enough for him to be silent but all those shots and time taken to quieten that one rebel caused a lot of damage not only that one rebel but also to people.
You know what he said? He said that was appropriate.
The other story (which I brought) was that during the day, some of the Kamaboyz went to a neigbouring house and asked that they be allowed to get in to watch the football match between Sierra Leone and Nigeria that was shown on satellite in that house. The tenant refused to let them in. They went out of that compound disappointed but with grudge in their minds for this defenceless guy.
I was even told that sometimes they jump the walls of that compound to attend to nature just to hear what he will say. But because they are in arms, he does not say a word when they do such acts.
During this night, it was a different thing. They wanted the guy. This guy stays out too late in the street and usually gets home late. He has a Jeep, one Mercedez Bendz car and two vans, all of them packed in his compound. They had planned to go for those vehicles and the only way they could have suceeded in getting one, was to open fire at that house.
Some of them lay along the Jomo Kenyatta Road in ambush while the others went into the house, firing rapidly and shouting that whoever came out would have his or her mother wearing black and green.
One small boy (about 13 years) who also lives in that house narrowly escaped death when he was jumping over the wall to save his life. He said he heard one shouting, LOOK ONE DAE JOMP and the other fired. Whilst they had escaped into the neigbouring house, they heard gunshots and banging at the gate. They had shot dead a driver and the vehicle lost control and crashed into their gate.
My source said he said they heard them saying NOR TO IM, NAR ORDER PORSIN. According to this boy (whose name I cannot disclose) they knew they were scouting for his uncle who also drives the same kind of Jeep. He said another luck was on their side. By the time they got to the house, UNAMSIL was there promptly and the Kamaboyz ran away.
When the UNAMSIL soldier shouted, “who goes there”, the reply was KAMABOYZ.
Sadly, this man has been killed in cold blood. I understand that the police are investigating. When will the investigation begin or end? Even though they may know that it was the Kamaboyz who did that, they would seal their lips. This one also died like the 21 who died for democracy and nothing has still happened. How many more people are going to die for democracy? This man was not killed for democracy. But what has this democracy done for us?
If you don’t know, the answer is simple: we have known our right. We don’t bribe the police. We have plenty guns around to fight the rebels. We have plenty ammunition to waste on one rebel who opens fire at us. It has provided us with 24 hours of darkness. It has given us the opportunity to go to 98.1 D and talk, talk, and talk and don’t do any thing after the plenty talking.
It has given us a President who only talk, and like Lansana Fofana said over the BBC’s Net work programme, a “President who is weak and cannot move anything”. It has sent people out of jobs for being collaborators of AFRC. The police have been informed to investigate. Keith Biddle is tough. His men too are tough. He has Kandeh Bangura by him who is toughest.
They would conclude their investigations very soon. I have concluded my investigations satisfactorily and I have given my piece of advice. That guy has abandoned the house and has gone elsewhere. Do you know what would happen after the police investigations?
NOTHING. If you die, e don. My advice is that we need to be very very careful. There are plenty guns around town. Those guns are not meant for Sankoh’s rebels alone; you and I can fall by them. But may I ask, why is it that the government is still keeping those Kamajors (who have self-styled themselves as KAMABOYZ) in that hotel?
The Pool Newspaper
1, Short Street