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Journalists' association to sue opposition politician over attacks on two journalists

(MFWA/IFEX) - At an extraordinary general meeting held on February 24, 2011, the Sierra Leonean Association of Journalists (SLAJ) resolved to initiate legal action against an opposition presidential aspirant who allegedly masterminded attacks on two journalists with the "Awareness Times", a privately-owned newspaper based in Freetown.

A Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) correspondent reported that the resolution followed recommendations by a committee set up to investigate attacks on Abdul Karim Kabia and James Bampia Bundu, acting editor and reporter respectively for the newspaper, in late December 2010.

The correspondent said SLAJ is seeking legal advice and would soon bring court action against Julius Maada Bio, a residential aspirant for the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples' Party (SLPP), and his supporters who attacked the two journalists.

In a complaint to SLAJ, Kabia said he has been receiving constant threats to his life ever since Bio threatened him on December 7 over an article he deemed to be critical. The editor added that continuing to publish "articles on Maada Bio and his supporters would put (his) life on the line."

In the case of Bampia, he said that on December 22, 2010 he was attacked at the premises of a Freetown court by a supporter of Maada Bio who was identified as Foday Yansanneh.

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