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Two pastors assault newspaper editor; community radio journalists attacked

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 30 November 2011, Abdul Karim Fonti Kabia, the executive editor of the Freetown-based privately-owned "Sierra Leone News Hunters" (ARIOBGO) newspaper, was violently assaulted by two pastors of the Baptist Convention Church. The attack was allegedly instigated by Reverend Darlington Morrison, the leader of the church, whom the newspaper had accused of duping a businesswoman.

The Media Foundation for West Africa's (MFWA) correspondent reported that the two pastors, Kawuta Conteh and his colleague, identified only as "Daniel", attacked Kabia at about 16:30 GMT outside the office of the country's media regulatory body, the Independent Media Commission (IMC) in Freetown. Conteh was arrested and seriously cautioned before being released.

"I never published anything against the two men who attacked me. I only published a story about Reverend Darlington Morrison on 18 October 2011. The article only warned Reverend Morrison to refund the 80 million Leones (approximately US$20,000) he had allegedly collected from a businesswoman called Isha Kamara," Kabia told the correspondent.

The IMC is investigating a complaint filed by Rev. Morrison against the publication. The attack occurred after a meeting between the parties.

In another development, on 11 November 2011, four journalists of the Radio Wanjei community station, including station manager Melvin Rogers, were violently attacked by teachers and pupils of Saint Stephens Technical and Vocational Secondary School, in a southern district of Sierra Leone.

MFWA's correspondent reported that the journalists had gone to the school to investigate an alleged underhand dealing in the school regarding their mode of admission. They were pelted with stones and sticks and the windscreen of the station's vehicle was shattered.

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