The pro-All People’s Congress (APC) government musician, "Innocent", has led a ‘gang’ of thick muscled men to attack and manhandle the Vice President of the Compact Disc Sellers Association (CDSA), Sheku Ojuku Kamara and other compact disc sellers in Freetown. The incident took place in the evening hours of Thursday 5th November 2009 at PZ business district.
Eyewitnesses told the Awareness Times newspaper that the pro-government musician, who recently released an album lyrically attacking one of the country’s renowned revolutionary musicians, Emmerson, materialized at PZ at around 10:30pm on the day in question, and launched physical attacks on the CD businessmen.
"Innocent in the company of several men dressed in black, stormed PZ in a black jeep and started accusing the businessmen of trading in pirated compact discs of his newly released album," one Zainab Kabia, a petty trader at Garrison Street explained.
The APC musician reportedly found a pirated copy of his CD in the hands of one of the cassette sellers in the area, and proceeded to grab, slap and drag the said seller following which an intervention by Sheku Ojuku Kamara to let the law prevail resulted in him being showered him with insults, punches, bites, kicks and have his belongings systematically looted.
Several eyewitnesses explained that "Innocent" openly boasted, on several instances at PZ, that he has the backing of government and can therefore do what he feels like and go untouched.
Normal business was brought to a standstill for at least one hour during the course of the riot.
In a chat with the victim at his Garrison Street office, CDSA Vice President, Sheku Ojuku Kamara said he had to run for his life as at one point he was almost striped naked. He claims to have lost a cash sum of two thousand dollars, mobile phones, wrist watch, footwear, gold chain and other properties worth millions of Leones to Innocent and his black-clad men.
He showed very serious injuries all over his body including bite marks and knife marks as well as bruises he says were from the several bites, slaps and kicks injuries he sustained.
Mr. Kamara disclosed that he has made a report at the Adelaide Street Police Station, adding that the matter is presently being investigated whilst he is receiving medical treatment.
Several other disc sellers expressed dissatisfaction over the act of the musician, but regretted for not coming to the aide of their Vice President since the attackers were acting like "rebels" and threatening anyone who went near the scene.
Responding to the allegations, Innocent disclosed that he received a tip off that his CDs were being pirated by CDSA at PZ, adding that his attempt to stop them resulted in the "clash".
He alleged that the disc businessmen were the first to attack him and his men, though this allegation was not supported by a single eyewitness.
The Public Relations Officer of the CDSA told the Awareness Times that his association will make a formal complaint to their umbrella body, the Sierra Leone Traders Union. He said CDSA is a non political association that markets the musical albums of every Sierra Leonean musician who wants to do business with them. He is of the conviction that the attack on their Vice President was borne out of malice, whilst threatening that his association will get to the bottom of this issue. He also threatened that they might consider imposing a blackout on Sierra Leone music if Innocent walks free.
It will be recalled that just a week prior to Innocent leading the attack, the brutalised victim of the ‘rebel’ attack, CDSA Vice President Sheku Ojuku Kamara had granted an interview to this newspaper in which he had commended Emmerson as one of the best Sierra Leonean musicians ever.