Document - Sierra Leone: Further information on torture or ill-treatment / probable prisoners of conscience
PUBLICAI Index: AFR 51/10/98
2 April 1998
Further information on UA 26/98 (AFR 51/02/98, 27 January 1998) and follow-
up (AFR 51/05/98, 6 February
1998) - Torture or ill-treatment / Probable
prisoners of conscience
B.S. Massaquoi, chairman of Kenema town council
Brima Kpaka, businessman
Abdulai Bockarie (also known as Swaray Kokowa), retired local government officer
Dr D.P.B. Momoh, medical doctor
Dr Stevens, medical doctor
a man known as "Potor Potor"
Patrick J. Kanneh
Paramount Chief Moinama Karmor, traditional ruler
Chief Saffa Mambu
Paramount Chief Momoh Tarawalie
The body of B.S. Massaquoi and 35 others were found in a mass grave near Kenema, Eastern Province, on 23 March 1998. They had been deliberately and arbitrarily killed by members of the armed opposition Revolutionary United Front (RUF). The RUF had joined forces with the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) after the military coup in May 1997 which ousted elected President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah from power.
Also reported to be among those killed were Chief Saffa Mambu, Sheku Kallon, Lansana Bangura, Prince Kamara, Pastor Sesay, Momoh Sallu, Paramount Chief Momoh Tarawalie and Amara Banakoh. The identity of the others is not known and may include some of the above-named.
Those listed above, and possibly many other prominent members of the community in Kenema, were arrested in January 1998. This was during a time of fierce fighting between the AFRC/RUF and a civil defence force composed of traditional hunters, known askamajors, who support President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. They were apparently suspected of supporting the kamajors.
Some of those arrested did, however, manage to escape to safety. Dr D.P.B Momoh is known to be safe.
The West African force deployed in Sierra Leone, known as ECOMOG, forced the AFRC from power in the capital Freetown in mid-February 1998. They subsequently went on to take control of Kenema and other major towns. ECOMOG forces are continuing to pursue AFRC/RUF forces in the east of the country, particularly in Kono and Kailahun Districts. Retreating AFRC/RUF forces have committed gross human rights abuses, including torture and ill-treatment - many women and girls have been raped - and deliberate and arbitrary killing of unarmed civilians.
President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his government returned to Freetown from Guinea on 10 March 1998.
No further action by Urgent
Action participants is requested. Amnesty
International will continue to campaign for proper
investigation into the human rights abuses committed
by the AFRC and RUF since the coup in May 1997 in
order to bring those responsible to justice.
Thank you to all those who took part in this action.