27 October 1997


Four journalists arrested on various charges

Incident details

Francis Akpu, Paul Kamara, Augustin Garmoh, Jonathan Leigh


(CPJ/IFEX)- On 19 October 1997, Francis Akpu, a Nigerian citizen
who is a reporter for the Financial Times in Freetown and owner
of the newly created newspaper, "Alpha Jet" was accused of
subversion and arrested by military officers. Military
officials were offended with the name of the newspaper Akpu
started as it refers to the Alpha Jet aircraft bombings in
Freetown. Akpu is currently being held at the SS military Camp
located about 27 km from Freetown.

**New cases plus update to IFEX Alert dated 15 October 1997; for
other recent incidents, see IFEX Alerts**

On 17 October 1997, Paul Kamara of "For Di People" newspaper was
arrested by military officers and detained at the CID
headquarters. Kamara was accused of providing reports to the
illegal underground radio station 98.1 FM.

On 17 October 1997, Augustin Garmoh of "Point" newspaper was
arrested by military officers who accused him of collaborating
with the Kamajohs, the local militia who are fighting against the
military junta. Garmoh was taken to Pademba Road Prison, where he
is currently detained.

On 13 October 1997, Jonathan Leigh of the "New Observer" was
picked up by military officers who accused him of subversion, and
was detained at the Pandemba Road prison. Six days after Leigh's
arrest, officers harassed and tied up Leigh and Foray, of the
"Democrat," who was also detained at Pademba Road prison (see
IFEX alert 15 October) and drove them to Allentown, a region to
the east of Freetown, where the military was attacking ECOMOG
troops stationed in the area. The officers wanted to provide
Leigh and Foray with a close encounter of the civil strife they
and other journalists had been covering. Both journalists were
subsequently taken to the SS military camp where they are
currently being held.

Freelancer Abdul Kpsowa, who was arrested on October 11 was
transferred to the SS military camp on 19 October 1997. (see IFEX
alert dated 15 October 1997)

Freelancer Donald Davis, who was arrested on October 8 on charges
of subversion (see IFEX alert dated 15 October 1997) remains in
detention at Pademba Road Prison where he has been tortured.

Background Information

On 11 October 1997, John Foray, acting editor of the newspaper
"Democrat," and freelancer Abdul Kposwa were beaten and arrested
by army officers who then took them to Pademba Road prison where
they were detained without charge.


Committee to Protect Journalists
330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
New York, NY 10001
info (@) cpj.org
Fax:+1 212 465 9568
Sierra Leone
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