Secretary of Sierra Leonean Opposition Party Arrested in Joint Operation in Guinea

What You Need to Know:

Abubakar Boxx Konteh, the north western province’s Organizing Secretary for Sierra Leone’s opposition party– the All People’s Congress (APC) was arrested in Guinea on the 23rd of March in a joint operation between Sierra Leonean and Guinean security services. 

The arrest has sparked outrage among APC party members, with some claiming President Bio’s Sierra Leonean People’s Party (SLPP) is clamping down on democracy in the country. 

The Details: 

The government claims Konteh played a part in organizing the country’s November 2023 failed coup. Despite this claim, Konteh has no criminal record and has not been seen or heard from since the announcement of his arrest. 

Konteh’s family claim that continued harassment due to his role with the APC forced Konteh to relocate to Guinea. His family is also pushing for due process to be followed in his case, stating that international law is currently not being followed as they have no idea as to his whereabouts or wellbeing since his arrest. 

A statement released by the National Secretary General of the APC, Lansana Dumbya, holds President Bio responsible for the clamp down on political freedom in the country. 

“The All People’s Congress (APC) is deeply concerned about the recent arrest of Mr. Abubakar Boxx Konteh, the APC Organizing Secretary for the North West Region, along with other esteemed members of our party in Guinea.

This action, as reported, appears to have been carried out at the behest of the SLPP government under President Maada Bio, representing a distressing continuation of efforts to suppress and harass members of the opposition.

Since his arrest on 23rd March 2024, Mr Konteh has not been seen or heard from by members of his family or his lawyers. The Sierra Leonean authorities in Guinea who reportedly arrested Mr Boxx have failed to provide the relevant information regarding his whereabouts or access to him while in their custody.” 

So, What Now?:

The arrest of an opposition party member is a concerning development, particularly due to the fact that the joint operation was in conjunction with Guinean security services. Guinea is currently ruled by Mamaday Doumboya, a military General who took power through a coup in October 2021. Cooperation with an autocratic nation signals democratic backsliding in Sierra Leone. 

This is despite the fact that the United States announced in late January its plans to invest $1.5 million dollars through the US Agency for International Development to support the implementation of an Electoral Reform Committee in Sierra Leone. 

According to US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the funding aims to provide technical assistance to the Electoral Reform Process, provide funding to Sierra Leonean and international legal analysts, and create civil society forums to engage the public. 

How effective these reforms will be is yet to be determined. 

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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