Youth Activist Feared Dead
By Gbanabom Kanu
Family members of the youth activist Edward Marcco Koroma whose influence among the youths in Makeni was informed by the many capacities he had held notable amongst which were Regional Coordinator Attitudinal and Behavioral Change Secretariat (ABC), Northern Region, Regional Manager Sierra Leone Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA), Northeast, and Team Manager of Wusum Stars Football Club, at the time, and also being a member of Makeni Union of Youth Groups (MUYOG) and of course a Member of opposition All Peoples Congress political party (APC), have expressed fear over his sudden disappearance after the Ministry of Energy’s relocation plan of the 1 megawatts Caterpillar generator to the country’s airport town of Lungi led to violence resistance by Makeni youths.
Pa. Sullay Turay, a neighbor to the now disappeared Edward told this medium that he saw a police pick up van at the apartment of Edward seeking information about his whereabouts given the intelligence they allegedly said they had about the activist’s role in inciting, and mobilizing the protesting youths in the Saturday’s standoff that resulted to five youths been shot dead.
In a related development, family members of one of the deceased youths Alusine Sesay who was shot and killed along station road in Makeni are reported to be on the hunt for Edward as well because they claimed their deceased son was seen together with Edward from their residence before he met his demise. Edward has been declared wanted by the Government of Sierra Leone, alleging that his audio messages and a radio interview he granted were he made inciteful statements and mobilized the youths to protest against the removal of the Generator from Makeni.
The Regional Police Commander Northeast AIG Frank Alpha said in an interview with this press that, everyone involved in mobilizing and making statements of incitement has been declared wanted by the police and several arrests have been made. And the police did not use any force more than necessary. “ we didn’t use guns, we use tear gas” he explained.
He noted that the guns fired during the standoff actually came from the protesting youths, a claim human rights monitors have debunked as untrue, because the deceased persons died through bullet wounds.
Edward’s friend , one Dauda Koroma told this press that he had visited the CID Headquarters in Freetown where all 51 arrested youths are been held in detention for the Saturday’s standoff between the police and the youths but could not find Edward.
Dauda denied claims been made at some quarters that his friend was involved in mobilizing the protesting youths, Dauda further disclosed that they were together during the said crisis. He said Edward left him late on the evening of Saturday after he received a call from a friend that accusations are rife in town that he championed the protest.
Dauda explained to Provincial times that he knew exactly where those allegations of Edward’s involvement in the said standoff were coming from. He said he had the strongest of convictions that his friend’s growing popularity and mobilizing power of young people was enough threat to many in the political class in the region.
Pa.Martin, Edwards’s aged uncle expressed fear that the absence in police cells and Edward not been amongst the injured hospitalized in the city regional hospital was is enough reason to suspect that he could have been killed and dumped in an unknown location.
James Tholley, another close friend of Edward said if his friend (Edward) is still alive one week after the standoff that saw five protesters dead, then it implies he could have fled to unknown destination given the situation on the ground that saw both the police and parents of one of the youth killed directly shifting blame on him for the July 18th standoff and deaths.