Yumkella Reportedly Hires Mercenaries to Sierra Leone As Supporters Clash
The Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) prospective Presidential flagbearer, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella , has been accused of importing mercenaries into Sierra Leone.
The accusations came from various Sierra Leoneans on social media reporting troubling events that transpired at Sierra Leone’s international airport over the weekend when some 11 men dressed in combat-ready military gears were “intercepted” as Dr.Yumkella made his much-trumpeted return to the country from abroad to start his sensitization crusade.
There has been no Police statement yet on the alleged interception but a statement from the Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella Movement seemed to collaborate the story , though the statement asserted that “…contrary to social media reports, the security team are all Sierra Leoneans with the exception of one white retired British security officer and Dr. Yumkella’s brother who is also a British citizen and an ex military officer in Britain.”
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What is curious about the story is the question of whether Mr. Yumkella informed the Sierra Leonean authorities that on arrival, he will be guarded by foreign ex-military officers, some dressed in combat military regalia (who had arrived days in advance, given the state of security alert in all countries in these days of terrorism and insecurity, and especially in a country like Sierra Leone, which is a post-conflict country still recovering from a devastating 11 year war.
The situation is also complicated by the fact that there had been threats of violence between rival supporters of Mr. Yumkella and the other prospective SLPP flagbearer, Mr. Maada Bio.
A Yumkella supporter on social media said that the security officers were brought in to defend Mr. Yumkella from planned attacks by supporters of Mr. Bio.
And this morning, Police had to fire teargas to disperse supporters of the two rival aspiring presidential candidates who clashed at the SLPP Headquarters where Mr. Yumkella had gone to conduct a political rally.
The situation between the two men is raising the spectre of violence between their respective supporters when the battle for the flagbearership heats up.