Sierra Leoneans are coming to terms with the shocking murder of a soldier at the Presidential Lodge in Freetown, the official residence of President Bio.

The cold-blooded murder took place on Monday, May 23, 2022, and the shocking incident happened in the presence of the Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio. The broad-daylight killing of the soldier by another serving soldier has shattered the remaining confidence that peaceful Sierra Leoneans have, if any, in the ruling SLPP government of President Bio. For a soldier to be gunned down just because he raised the issue of delayed rice supply is the worst thing to occur in a supposedly democratic Sierra Leone. Confirmed sources say the poor soldier was killed by a diehard SLPP government soldier even though both of them were work colleagues providing security at the Presidential Lodge.

It was a pathetic day and still is for the family of the deceased soldier. He is survived by his wife, and five children, according to family sources. And those who witnessed the callous murder of an innocent citizen are still in shock. Sierra Leoneans have woken up again to another intentional killing of a Sierra Leonean, a horrible situation that continues to repeat under the watch of President Bio’s SLPP regime. This time around, it was, unfortunately, the turn of a soldier whose only crime was merely criticising the government for the poor conditions of service for soldiers. Latest reports from the official premises of President Bio say the victim was a long-time serving soldier of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces RSLAF.

The dead soldier, whose name is yet to be disclosed, had worked at the Presidential Lodge where he together with the other security personnel provided security services for the President and his household for the last four years. He was murdered for no justifiable reason by another soldier who felt that the victim had insulted President Bio for questioning the delayed rice supply. And sources say he was gunned down in the presence of his wife. The summary execution of this poor soldier at the Presidential Lodge on Monday is the continuation of the violent-oriented agenda of President Bio’s totalitarianism and misrule. Barbarism has been the hallmark of the ruling SLPP regime since April 4, 2018, when the SLPP regime came to power. Since then, citizens have seen civil liberties and democratic fundamentals eroded in the last four years.

Reports say the fearless soldier was gunned down instantly in the aftermath of his criticisms of the ruling SLPP regime’s failure to supply the monthly rice ration for serving military officers. Eyewitnesses who saw the cold-blooded murder of the soldier were openly astonished that a colleague of theirs could open live bullets on another colleague for making such critical remarks on the unavailability of rice supply. Never in the history of Sierra Leone have citizens witnessed government supporters that do not respect and protect the lives of its citizens. Any form of criticisms or free expression as a citizen is forbidden in Sierra Leone under this SLPP administration. You either praise the nonsense being done in the country or you keep quiet and pretend nothing bad is happening in the country in order to protect one’s life.

The murdered soldier is reported to have grumbled publicly – like what people who are in a democratic nation often say – about the constant delay of the monthly supply of rice to the soldiers. He is noted to have suggested that if such poor conditions of service did not stop, the main opposition APC party will take power next year. That was all he said and unfortunately for him, it was a red line that no one dare cross under President Bio’s misrule. No Sierra Leonean dared say negative things under the autocracy of President Bio without facing the brutal force of the SLPP thugs. Citizens have no right to criticise President Bio’s maladministration. Either you swallow the bitter pills and go with the flow irrespective of the negative connotations affecting your lives thereof, or you face the full consequences of vengeance that may lead to arbitrary arrests, detentions, beatings, injuries, and worst of all deaths.

When the shooting took place, the SLPP soldiers wanted to keep the murder quiet and they made efforts to hide the corpse from his wife who was nearby. But as God Almighty had destined it, the wife instinctively rushed out of the house after hearing the loud noise from the gunshot, and there and then she saw her dead husband lifeless lying in a pool of blood on the ground. The murder scene was like a horror movie according to those who witnessed the cold-blooded murder. Family sources say the late soldier had five beautiful children with the widow. “Why should my husband die like this for simply talking about the hardship we are facing? We depend on this bag of rice every month and there is nothing wrong to complain that the rice is always delayed,” the distraught wife noted in tears.

As we go to press, family members are calling on the President and the government to launch an investigation into the killing of the soldier. But political observers have hinted that President Bio has ignored or paid deaf ears to incidents involving many other murders in the past. President Bio has been visibly quiet after the Pademba Road Killings of prisoners in 2020. He was also very mute after the 2020 Makeni Massacre of protesting youths. As well as the killings in Lunsar, Tombo, Mile 91, Thonko Limba, Kailahun and other areas in the country. Meanwhile, the international community is reportedly looking into this latest murder that took place at the Presidential Lodge. Investigations continue.

Source: The Organiser