It was a kind of ‘hell get loose situation in the District Headquarter Town of Port Loko with no clear version on what the crux of the matter was all about. The only clear aspect was that the incident took place at Old Port Loko and the Paramount Chief Alikali Mella 11 was in thick of things. In fact it was the Paramount Chief himself who called for the immediate intervention of the Police.

Youth Violence

One of the versions that emerged was that, the Paramount Chief had gone to impose his authority on the People of Old Port Loko. It was further spread that the Chiefdom of Maforki has been De-amalgamated and those in Maforki are no longer under the rule of Pc Alikali Mella and were defiant to any of his authority.

This is however contrary to the information gained at the Port Loko Police Station where the matter is being investigated. As outlined by the Crime –Assistant Superintendent Michael J K Lagga, Police is investigating a case of Riotous conduct. It was reported by Paramount Chief Alikali Mella against the people of New Maforki at Old Port Loko.

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The Problem started when Pc Mella was asked by one of his Sub Chiefs- Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy Kamara of Moria Section to be allowed to complete his traditional ceremonies. This is a sub chief that was crowned by Paramount Chief Bai Forki. But Pc Forki died before Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy could complete the traditional ceremonies. I understand this Sub Chief has waited for over 11 years to complete these ceremonies because they can only be performed by a substantive Paramount Chief. It is also said that Pa Alimamy did not join Pc Mella when he was undergoing his ceremonies because, the traditions are different. Sources say, it was Pc Mella who okayed Pa Alimamy to go to ‘ Kantha’ to complete the ceremonies.

On the day in question, the Paramount Chief sent another Sub Chief in the person of Pa Alimamy Kanu to cross check the level of preparedness at New Maforki Town. It was reported that things were in order and the people were only waiting on him- the Paramount Chief.
Pc Mella later went with his Council of Chiefdom Elders and was baffled to know that the without his authority. The Paramount Chief is quoted as viewing this as a sign of disrespect.

He directly blamed one Pa Alimamy Sonkoi and ordered the ceremonies to be stopped. This was allegedly challenged by Pa Alimamy Sonkoi who maintained that he has every right to go on with the conduct of the ceremonies without the permission of the Paramount Chief. It was this that developed to an argument, confrontation, insulting words, pelting of stones, wounding and the subsequent arrest of people.

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Detective Police Constable 8845 Kamara S is one of the investigating Officers in this Matter. He said some Ceremonial Chiefs were injured including Ya Bowara Dumbuya of Morgiba Section, Ya Alimamy Orportho of Chief’s Compound and Ya Bom Posseh Kaforr Turay of Burreh Kasseh Maconteh. He said 6 other people were arrested upon the intervention of Police. Those arrested are –Mohamed Kamara, Mohamed Sesay, Mohamed Lamin Kamara, Issa Briama Kamara, James Kamara and Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy Kamara. The Investigator said there is enough evidence and that the matter will be charged to Court. He said Police is also looking for Pa Alimamy Sonkoi, Pa Kaprr, Pa Alimamy Sorie Kamara and Pa Rok who are yet on the run.

According to Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy Kamara, Paramount Chief Mella has ruined his entire life. He told me in an interview that the ceremonies in question do not normally require the physical presence of a Paramount Chief as he was to be only represented by any of his trusted Ceremonial Chiefs. Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy explained how he personally visited Pc Mella in Kantha where he was assured that he would continued with his ceremonies 3 week after the Paramount Chief himself shall have come out from Kantha.

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He said the PC was again officially reminded of the ceremonies on Sunday 29th May 2016 and he agreed that Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy will proceed to ‘Kantha’ on Friday. He said the Paramount Chief went to New Maforki Town that evening in an angry mood and publicly pronounced that he would not recognise him as one of his sub chiefs.

Pa Alimamy N’Kenedy said he was shocked to the bones and could not believe his ears. He therefore asked Pa Alimamy Sonkoi to beg the Paramount Chief on his behalf. He said Pa Alimamy Sonkoi was insulted by the Paramount Chief and even forced to sit while the Police were called upon to carry out the arrest. He said it was the Paramount Chief who ordered the Police to put him in cells. [By Hassan Bruz]