Sierra Leonean Athlete in exile over threats on his life for his political views 

Sierra Leoneans protesting in New York

“Some of the youths were even chanting my name in anger holding stones and other weapons,” Kamara

By Alpha Kamara in Washington D.C.

Ismail Dudu Kamara is a Sierra Leonean athlete. In 2018, he travelled to Australia to compete at the Commonwealth Games. Being the fastest 200 meters champion in the country, Dudu has always been vocal about his political opinions since high school. He used his athletic talent and popularity to promote views on the future of sports in the country and also mobilize youths to be active in politics.

Dudu used his position as an athlete to promote his sponsor’s party, Kemoh Sesay the then APC Party youth chairman of Ferry junction in the east of Freetown. Kamara also had a strong relationship with Paul Kamara, a journalist and sports minister at the time who helped his sports career by linking him with several opportunities.

Kamara therefore, as a loyal sportsman and a native of the North, openly went on record to endorse the APC party for a continuation of what was started by President Ernest Bai Koroma.  

 He embarked on the mobilization of youths in the country to see the need to vote the APC party back to power in the 2018 election.

“I believed in the APC party because it’s the party of the grassroots. It’s also the party that developed sports and linked youths with opportunities. Hence, I used my platform to tell all my youth colleagues to vote and bring back the APC back to power in 2018” he said.

Kamara is also very concern that the current government is not working in the interest of the youths because officials lack the necessary job experience and connections to better youths including sports. He also thinks the government’s targeted killings of civilians especially in the APC party strongholds is a tactic to suppress opposition voters.

That message made him a target just like others in the APC party or even those residing in APC strongholds.

Because of his campaign utterances and his continuous support for the APC, Dudu’s house was attacked after the pronouncement of election results by suspected supporters of the ruling SLPP party in party colors. Kamara had no choice but to stay in Australia to seek for asylum. “Some of the youths were even chanting my name in anger holding stones and other weapons,” he said.

Kamara’s situation is more sensitive because his sponsor, Kemoh Sesay is also the APC youth chairman of ferry junction in the east of Freetown which is a stronghold of the APC party. Sesay is also abroad seeking refuge because his name is on the list of opposition youths the ruling party is accusing of sending messages to the opposition youths to protest the authorities.

“My former sponsor, Kemoh Sesay is also a wanted man just like me. If I go to Sierra Leone now, I will be hunted and killed because already my house has been attacked several times as ruling party youths are constantly looking out for me. I can’t risk it,”, he added.

Since 2018 when President Julius Maada Bio came to power, there has been widespread killing of civilians mostly in opposition strongholds. Most of the killings are carried by state security personnel including the police and military. Over 100 civilians have been killed including over 15 in Makeni in the North (Dudu’s home town), over 80 in Freetown the capital, three in Lunsar in the North, three in Waterloo also in the North.

Most of the youths demonstrated against the regime or expressed their dissatisfaction over the gross human rights abuses and violations.

No government official or security personnel has been held accountable for any of these killings.

Just like Ismail, several opposition Sierra Leonean youths abroad are afraid of going home because even as recent as August, 22 civilians were killed in Freetown and Makeni for protesting against the Bio regime. “If all these civilians have been killed and no one has been held accountable, If I go to Sierra Leone today I might ended being dead and nothing will be done about it because the current president is a former coup plotter and killing civilains for him and his team is not new,” Kamara added.

Also, in Makeni, an opposition youth, Hassan Dumbuya also called Evangelist Samson was killed by state security for using social media to promote activities of the All-People’s Congress (APC) party. Their bodies were never handed over to their families for burial.

The president in an international broadcast after the incident, accused opposition APC party youths residing abroad of financing and using social media to mobilize youths in the country that are protesting his rule. Some of his ministers also promised to start approaching foreign governments to deport opposition members residing in their countries supporting violence to face justice in Freetown. Ismail Dudu might be one of them because he still belongs to the opposition APC party and is active in some social media groups talking openly against the current regime.

In New York recently during the UN General Assembly, Sierra Leoneans also protested against President Bio for his poor handling of the country’s economy and the continuous civilian killings in the country.

Sierra Leonean Athlete in exile over threats on his life for his political views 
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