Sierra Leone: Journalist brutalised while covering land dispute

A group of disgruntled youth has brutalised Alusine Antha, a journalist with the privately-owned Eagle Africa FM based in Waterloo, Sierra Leone.

The journalist, on February 17, 2022, went to the local Matale community where a meeting had been scheduled to settle a land dispute between the community and Christopher John, a retired senior police officer. On his arrival, he came upon some skirmishes between some angry youth and police officers deployed to maintain the peace. The confrontation soon degenerated into violence as the youth smashed Christopher John’s car and threw stones at the police contingent forcing them to flee the scene.

Afterwards, the mob turned their anger on Antha, who was about to mount his motorbike. They accused the journalist of belonging to Christopher John’s camp, with others alleging that he had filmed them. The mob seized his phones and recorder before assaulting him with sticks and stones. His motorbike was also carried away. He came out of the assault with injuries to his head and body.

The journalist may have been targeted also because of his sustained coverage of the land dispute during his radio programmes.

The MFWA condemns the attack on Antha and demands justice for the journalist. We note with satisfaction that the journalist’s motorbike has been retrieved and seven suspects charged in connection with the attack. We urge the police and the court to pursue the matter until justice is served.

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