In a press release dated October 23, 2023, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has strongly denounced the assault on Hope Radio FM 93.3, situated in Makeni.

The incident transpired on the afternoon of Monday, October 23rd, 2023, when a group of individuals, reportedly acting on behalf of Mr. Alie Benson Conteh, the landlord of the radio’s location at 4 Field Road, Makeni City in Northern Sierra Leone, forcibly entered the radio premises.

During this attack, the assailants damaged equipment and physically harmed multiple staff members. Mr. Stanley Bangura Jr, the radio station’s owner, arrived at the scene and was also subjected to an assault by an individual identified as ‘Babah Bio.’ Notably, the radio station holds a valid tenancy agreement set to expire on December 31, 2023.

The local Makeni police are presently conducting an investigation into the incident and have made several arrests in connection with the attack. Meanwhile, the affected radio station staff members are receiving medical care at Makeni Regional Hospital.

SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, accompanied by a part of the executive committee, visited the Mena Police Station in Makeni after traveling from Bumbuna to inquire about the situation. AIG Aiah Edward Samadia, the North-East Regional Commander, disclosed that the property owners and their lawyer had approached the police station on Sunday, October 22, 2023, seeking the forceful eviction of the radio station. However, he advised them to follow the appropriate legal procedures.

In response to these developments, SLAJ President Ahmed Sahid Nasralla emphasized, “An assault on a radio station and its journalists represents an assault on democracy. It is concerning to witness Sierra Leoneans resorting to vigilantism. This lawlessness must cease, and we urge the police to ensure that the alleged wrongdoers face the consequences.” This incident underscores the vital need to protect press freedom and democratic values in Sierra Leone.