Sierra Leoneans will go to the polls August 11 to elect a president. The political tension has been heightened by the announcement that someone tried to assassinate the presidential candidate of the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC). Police are investigating the severe beating of former military junta official Tom Nyuma for allegedly attempting to assassinate APC candidate Ernest Bai Koroma.
Nyuma is said to be a supporter of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate, Vice President Solomon Berewa. Reports say Nyuma was beaten severely early Friday morning as he tried to enter Koroma’s hotel bedroom in the city of Bo with a pistol in his hand.
Foday U.K. Dabo is local unit commander of the Sierra Leone police in Bo. He told VOA the police are investigating the incident.
"It is an allegation made against him (Tom Nyuma) that he and few others wanted to assassinate the APC flag bearer. That is what we are investigating now. I’m very busy; I’m still in the office trying to reach to the bottom of the allegation,” Dabo said.
He said the incident happened in the southern city of Bo, Sierra Leone’s second largest city.
“It happened at a guest house in Bo where incidentally the APC flag bearer had residence in the guest house and Tom Nyuma also had residence in the guest house,” he said.
Dabo said he does not think any weapon was involved in the alleged attempted assassination of the APC presidential candidate. He said the police would soon get to the bottom of the allegations.
He said the allegations are serious enough to raise concern about their impact on the coming election.
“Apparently because if allegations come that somebody wants to assassinate a flag bearer of a political party, it’s not very far from that scenario. But we are also prepared as police. But we are not anticipating any violence during the election,” he said.
Dabo said he has visited the beaten victim in the hospital and that Nyuma was badly beaten. But Dabo would not say whether Nyuma’s injuries were life threatening.
“We are awaiting the results of the medical examination,” Dabo said.
Dabo said those who allegedly beat Nyuma were security guards of main opposition APC candidate Ernest Bai Koroma.