Media Freedom News West Africa

Sierra Leone journalist murdered; suspects in custody

NEW YORK: Police in Sierra Leone have arrested three suspects, including a police officer, for the killing of a reporter this past Sunday, 12 June 2011, during violent clashes over a land dispute on the outskirts of the capital, Freetown, according to local journalists.
Sierra Leone journalist murdered; suspects in custody

Ibrahim Foday, 38, a reporter at the private daily newspaper The Exclusive, was beaten and stabbed by assailants during an outbreak of violence between neighbouring villages Kossoh and Grafton, 16 miles (25 kilometres) southeast of the capital, Freetown, according to Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ). Foday, a resident of Grafton, was attacked for taking photographs of Kossoh rioters.

Local leader arrested

The locals who attacked him believed Foday was biased against them, according to local journalists. Local police have arrested a Kossoh community leader, his driver and a police officer, according to the same sources. The police officer was arrested on Wednesday. The other two suspects were arrested on Monday.

Foday had been covering three days of violent clashes between the communities over longstanding claims to a 10-acre plot of land, according to The Exclusive's publisher, Sheik Sesay. Six people were injured over the course of three days of clashes, which started on Friday, he said. Foday had not reported any previous threats, according to the publisher.

Died from knife wound

An autopsy performed on Tuesday determined that Foday died from a knife wound on his back, according to SLAJ. He was attacked by a group of armed youth from Kossoh on a bridge separating the two communities, according to two witnesses CPJ spoke with.

"We condemn the killing of Ibrahim Foday," said CPJ Africa advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita. "We urge Sierra Leonean authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous murder be brought to justice."

Foday, a father of one, had been reporting with The Exclusive for about five years, according to Sesay. He is the 17th journalist killed in the line of duty in Sierra Leone since 1992, according to CPJ research.

Article published courtesy of CPJ

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