The Human Rights Committee in Kono District, Eastern Sierra Leone has in a press release dated February 5th, 2024 expressed dissatisfaction over the tragic death of a village teacher in the Kangama Gorama Chiefdom.

Tamba Theophilus James, the 50-year-old deceased teacher at the United Methodist Church Primary School in Turbu Village reportedly left home on January 27th, 2024 for his farm and never returned.

On Sunday 28th January 2024, a search party consisting of residents of Turbu village was dispatched, and the dead body of the teacher was later discovered along the road close to the farm of one Sahr Yarjah, a neighbor in the same village. Sahr Yarjah, owner of the farm where the late teacher’s dead body was discovered is the son of Tapie Yarjah, the town Chief of Turbu.

Human Rights Committee reported that the deceased teacher and the Turbu town Chief were having a fracas, and a date has been set to resolve the issue when the dead body of the late Mr James was discovered with wounds in the farm of the son of the Chief.

It was revealed that Mr Tamba Theophilus James (deceased teacher) was not on good terms with Chief Tapie Yarjah and that there was a planned peace meeting with stakeholders in the next village,” the Press release from the Human Rights Committee further reads.

The peace meeting to resolve the late Tamba James impasse with the town chief, according to the release was supposed to take place on January 29th, 2024 when his dead body was discovered in the bush with visible wounds and blood stains.

The mysterious manner the late teacher died has flared suspicious around Kangama Gorama Chiefdom and there have been speculations since the ugly incident arose.

It was on that note that the Committee said it is condemning the act and called for justice to be served.

“The Committee condemns this heinous crime in the strongest possible terms and calls on the law enforcement authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the teacher’s death,” the Committee noted.

Though the family says it suspected foul play, the authorities did not treat the matter with the seriousness it deserves. The family said the Police in Tankoro Division in Koidu City have released almost all of the suspects arrested in connection with the matter.

“The Police are not treating the matter with seriousness. We [the family] learned that all of the suspects have been released,” Mary James, daughter of the deceased teacher said.

Efforts to get the side of the Police have proved fruitless.

As Human Rights defenders, the Committee says it stands in solidarity with the family, the people of Turbu, and the Chiefdom in this difficult time. The Committee further called on the people of Turbu to help the law enforcers in the investigation.

Patrick F. Mansaray, Kono District Human Rights Committee Chairman said they’re going to make sure justice is served and those found wanting are brought to book.