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Editor-in-chief violently attacked by ruling-party members

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 14 May 2009, Sitta Turay, editor-in-chief of the Freetown-based bi-weekly newspaper "New People", was violently attacked by two functionaries of the ruling All People's Congress Party (APC) for allegedly defaming President Ernest Bai Koroma.

An MFWA correspondent said that two men stormed Sitta Turay's office and accused him of using his newspaper to serve the interest of the opposition by writing articles defaming the image of President Koroma. Alimamy Turay, a presidential photographer, and another APC supporter known only as "Tunde" then stabbed Sitta Turay in the head. The editor was hospitalised and later discharged.

MFWA's correspondent reported that Sitta Turay has since escaped into hiding for fear of further attacks.

Meanwhile, there has been widespread condemnation of the attack by the two APC activists. Both the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) and the Independent Media Commission (IMC) are calling on the police to, as matter of urgency, investigate the matter and bring the two to justice.

Minister of Information Alhaji Ibrahim Ben Kargbo has assured the editor that he will be protected and appealed to him to come out of hiding.

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