The United States (US) Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Michael Owen has reportedly said the brutal killings of former Sierra Leone Police Chief James Bambay Kamara and many others during the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC) military junta of Julius Maada Bio and others, were human rights violations following which he formally and officially extended the Obama Government’s sincere condolences to the families.
According to relatives of the deceased who spoke to Awareness Times at the forefront of the US Embassy yesterday August 14th 2012, Ambassador Owen made these statements while he was addressing a cross-section of the killed victims’ relatives inside his Embassy offices in Freetown.
The protesters had assembled at the Embassy again yesterday, in several bus loads, to formally present another protest letter to the Ambassador. Their protest letter again called on the United States Government through its Embassy in Sierra Leone, to publicly support the relatives’ calls for the Government of Sierra Leone to set up an Inquest into the murders of their departed loved ones. The protesters, who were dressed in pitch black, spent a long time singing solemn songs outside the embassy with photos of their killed relatives held high.
Speaking on behalf of the protesters, the President of the 29 Memorial Foundation for Justice and Development, Mr. Julius Bambay Kamara (Jr), noted that their visit to the Embassy was “very fruitful”. He further disclosed that they were warmly received by the Ambassador who held a closed door meeting with them.
Mr. Kamara revealed that the US ambassador received their protest letter and thereafter formally extended the American Government’s sincere condolences to the bereaved families. He furthered that Ambassador Owen reassured them that his government has full knowledge about the plight which befell their relatives.Julius Kamara said the position of America was that the action of the NPRC military regime was tantamount to injustice to the victims and their families and the American Government is in total support of the victims. According to Mr. Kamara, Ambassador Owen maintained that the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone was a moral guarantor of peace and justice but Ambassador Owen noted that the U.S. Embassy in Sierra Leone does not have the moral obligation to dictate to the Sierra Leone Government on what action to take on such issues. The Ambassador, Kamara said, nevertheless, added that such a matter should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet without being addressed to satisfaction of all concerned especially the victims’ families.
Ambassador Owen further assured the victims that he will once again forward a copy of their second protest letter to the State Department in Washington. He also said he will further engage the Sierra Leone Government “in private discussions” as regards the issue.
Ambassador Owen according to Mr. Kamara encouraged the victims to keep him abreast on any development pertaining to the unresolved matter.
“Today, we have every reason to rejoice because of what happened at the American Embassy and what we were told. We cannot reveal all of what we were told because of certain reasons but I can confidently say today was a very good day. It has given the families the fullest assurance that the international community is listening to us and something is going to happen and it will happen in the shortest possible time to give us justice,” Kamara confidently said adding that their cause was not only to get justice for their families but to protect other citizens in the future from suffering what they had suffered for the past nineteen years.
“We are doing this for others; for the country; for the peace of this nation; for it not to ever happen again.The only way we can put a stop to such impunity is by publicly bringing the perpetrators to book. We are doing this to save this nation from future calamity at the hands of those who do not respect the sanctity of life or the rule of law. We want them to know that judicial means should be the way forward and not extra-judicial killings,” Julius Bambay Kamara ended.
It can be recalled that some 30 worthy citizens of Sierra Leone lost their lives at the hands of the NPRC and their corpses were never seen nor their burial place ever made known.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.