Radio station attacked, vandalized in Sierra Leone

Radio Gbafth, an independent community radio station in Tonkolili district, was attacked by supporters of a local politician on July 19, 2012, according to local journalists and the Media Foundation of West Africa, a Ghana-based press freedom organization. The politician, John Raka Conteh, also known as Potas, had been invited as a panelist on one of the station’s programs to discuss the postponement of the local election, the reports said.

Conteh verbally abused the moderator, Ibrahim Abdul Conteh (no relation to the politician), for turning off his microphone after he purportedly diverted from the subject of the election and refused to answer any questions, the station’s manager, Hassan Y. Koroma, said, according to news reports.

Koroma said that two of the politician’s supporters then used broken bottles to vandalize the studio and damage equipment, including a laptop computer, digital recorders, and external hard drives, according to news reports.

The station’s staff intervened and subdued the attackers, Koroma said. The station has reported the incident to the police, he said.