British mercenary Paul James Shepard alongside his fellow former British army officer Foday Ahmed Yumkella and seven other Sierra Leonean security suspects whom were arrested during a suspected terror incident at the Lungi International Airport, have on 31st August 2015, been charged to court on various counts including impersonation of State security officers, illegal possession of unregistered communication handsets, possession of prohibited drugs and other conspiratorial breaches of the laws of Sierra Leone. The drugs found on them are alleged to be cannabis sativa (Djamba). The men allege they went to the airport to welcome a presidential hopeful for the opposition SLPP party, Dr. Kandeh Yumkella who is the brother of accused Foday Ahmed Yumkella.
Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of Court No. 1 remanded all of the accused at Pademba Road Prisons and adjourned the matter for a period of one week until 7th September 2015. The Director of Public Prosecution Sulaiman Bah had vehemently objected to bail application from defence lawyers; I.S. Yillah, A.M, Sillah and I. Turay.
|Paul J. Shepherd, a British Mercenary imported by Yumkella
The Sierra Leonean citizens are Reuben Tekuyama, Paul Sandy, George Pratt, Mohamed Kargbo, David Sattie, Alhaji Koroma and Abdulai Sesay. At least two of them had once served as security and intelligence operatives for a rival presidential aspirant from the SLPP opposition, Mr. Julius Maada Bio. This had raised questions as to whether they were not infact planted on Yumkella by his bitter rival Mr. Bio who was defeated as the SLPP presidential candidate in the last elections. He is facing a challenge from Yumkella to be the next SLPP presidential candidate.
It can be recalled that all accused persons were arrested at the Lungi airport on Sunday 22nd August, 2015 whilst alleged to be attempting to breach the laws of the land at the airport. The white mercenary was reported to have been imported into the country to train Sierra Leoneans on how to harm one another with items like pepper spray.
Both of the opposition SLPP presidential hopefuls Mr. Julius Bio and Dr. Kandeh Yumkella used to serve the country’s former brutal NPRC government. Bio was the Chief Minister and Yumkella was the junta’s Trade Minister. They both signed many trade pacts.
Some of the agreements signed by NPRC included importing foreign mercenaries to help prosecute the civil strife. Therefore the recent Lungi airport terror incident had startled and sent shock waves around the country as it brought back unpleasant memories of the days of war and civil strife in Sierra Leone when foreign mercenaries from various outfits were regularly imported into the country by the brutal NPRC military junta and later by the democratic SLPP government of late President Kabbah.
© Copyright by Awareness Times
Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.