By John Elliot
For alleged ‘misconduct’ without stating the specific nature of the offence, a Sierra Leonean war hero, Colonel Musa Bangura, has been summarily dismissed from the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces.
Reliable military sources say Colonel Bangura was last Friday morning, January 26, dishonourably dismissed for issues involving a WhatsApp chat group.
Colonel Bangura, who has bravely served his country for over 33 years, was one of the great military officers who fought gallantly to liberate Sierra Leone from the brutal clutches of the deadly rebel government soldiers known as ‘Westside Boys’ during the country’s civil war.
This gallant Sierra Leonean soldier worked closely with British soldiers to help restore peace and stability to his beloved nation. One of his great sacrifices was his involvement in the ousting of the Westside Boys.
The Westside Boys had captured the strategic Okra Hills on the main road to and from the capital, Freetown. Their violent deadly ambushes had become an anathema to travellers, military, government officials, private citizens, and business people.
In pursuit of his patriotic service to liberate his nation, he was captured, tortured and left to die in a pit latrine where renegade soldiers defecated and urinated on him.
It took a special daring rescue mission, Operation Barass staged by British Special Forces, the Special Assault Squadron (SAS), to set him free and other Bristish soldiers who had been abducted during a patrol in rebel held territory.
Since his traumatising ordeal, he has remained loyal to his country, serving honourably. But in a sudden and sad turn of events, all of that sterling service to state and country has been casually thrown in the wind, for an offence that he says he doesn’t understand.
After 33 years of toil and service for the motherland, tortured and left to die, a gallant soldier who should have been celebrated, has once again became a victim of his country’s toxic politics, laced with tribalism.
The dismisal of Colonel Musa Bangura follows the events of Sunday November 26, 2023, during which an armoury at the Wilberforce Barracks in Freetown and several military installations at Murray Town and Wilkinson Road were breached. The main correctional facilities were also breached and over two thousand prisoners were released.
The government of President Julius Maada Bio (Photo) has since described the breaches as a ‘failed coup detat’, claiming over 18 military personnel were killed.
In a worrying development reminiscent of the 1991 military coup in which then Lietunant Bio was a part of, several military and police personnel, predominantly from the North and West regions of Sierra Leone have either been implicated on what has been dscribed by lawyers as flimsy trumped up charges; detained, extra-judicially killed, dismissed or forced to run away.
What observers describe as another ethno-regional purge in the military, occasioned by politics and political vendetta, has once again cut short the bright career of one of the Sierra Leone’s war heroes.
Every attempt to get Colonel Musa Bangura’s side regarding his dismissal on Friday morning has proved futile.