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REGIONS:

Toll mounts in Sierra Leone



**Updates IFEX alerts of 28 January, 22 January, 21 January, 20 January, 11
January and 6 January 1999**

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is a 28 January 1999 RSF press release:

Sierra Leone: the toll mounts:Five journalists killed, two missing, one
seriously injured and media offices attacked

While the toll of victims in the civil war mounts every day - most recent
figures indicate that at least 3,000 people have died in the capital - it
has just been confirmed to Reporters sans frontières that four journalists
in Sierra Leone have been assassinated by Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
rebels in the last two weeks.




While Reporters sans frontières was pleased by the rebels' release of
Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa on 27 January, it appears that RUF rebels
and soldiers still loyal to the junta continue to deliberately target
journalists. Several journalists and their families have been assassinated,
death threats and attacks against media are common. Also, fearing reprisals,
the majority of journalists have fled their homes and gone into hiding in
certain Freetown neighbourhoods in the city's west end.

According to our information, four journalists from Sierra Leone have been
deliberately assassinated by rebels. Between 9 and 11 January, Jenner Cole
of Sky FM radio, Mohammed Kamara of Kiss FM radio, Charles Hinga of SLBS
radio and Paul Mansaray of the Standard Times newspaper, were assassinated
by rebels. Paul Manasaray was killed along with his wife and two children.

On 10 January, Miles Tierney, a North American cameraman covering the
conflict for the Associated Press agency, was shot and killed in downtown
Freetown. He was part of a group of foreign journalists accompanied by
ECOMOG troops who were under fire from a group of rebels. During this same
shooting incident, Ian Stewart, Canadian director of the Associated Press
Abidjan regional office, was shot and seriously wounded.

Two journalists have also been abducted by the rebels. Mabay Kamara, a
freelance journalist, and his wife were kidnapped from their home. James
Ogogo, a Nigerian journalist with the Concord Times, was abducted while
trying to find shelter in a safer zone of Freetown. We have no information
concerning the whereabouts of these two journalists. We can only fear the
worse.

In addition, while holding certain Freetown zones, the rebels attacked and
set fire to several newspaper and radio station offices: the Concord Times
and Standard Times newspapers and Sky FM and SLBS radio stations were
targeted.

Reporters sans frontières is concerned for the well-being of Sierra Leone
journalists and denounces the deliberate assassination of journalists
committed by the rebels and soldiers loyal to the military junta. Reporters
sans frontières asks the international community to do everything possible
to end this policy of terror.



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