Man Arrested for 'Brutal' Stabbing in Sierra Leone Football Association building
Days after human rights activists held vigils to commemorate the victims of acts of violence on January 6, 1999, the owner of Freetown's East End Tigers football club Victor Lewis is reportedly fighting for his life after being stabbed in the neck.
According to Mohamed Kamara of Sierra Leone Football News, Lewis was attacked during a brawl that took place inside the football headquarters of the Sierra Leone Football Association.
It is not known whether Isha Tejan-Cole Johansen, the current president of the Sierra Leone Football Association, was in the building. The football association is yet to make a statement.
Kamara said witnesses taking part in the elective nominations at the football headquarters blame former Inter Milan striker Mohammed Kallon, lawyer Emmanuel Abdulai Saffa, and Rodney Michael, the brother of the Mercury betting company manager, for instigating the stabbing.
Apparently, the fight started when Lewis, chief executive officer of East End Lions, a premier football club in Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Mohammed Kallon, a supporter of Rodney Michael, who has long made his grievance known about losing Sierra Leone Football Association elections, got into an argument.
Reports say the Sierra Leone Police have detained Augustine Kambo, an executive member of Central Parade football club. Witnesses say Kambo rained invectives on Lewis, before stabbing him outside the SLFA Office.
"I heard the voice of Honorable Samba, telling Kambo to show me the 'tricks of Eastern men" Victor Lewis reportedly said from his hospital bed. "I also heard Hawa Dauda saying 'look at Victor, he wants to run away.' The next moment, Kambo stabbed me on the neck and I fell down," Lewis told Sierra Leone Football News.
Kamara goes on to report on the turbulence that has beset football in Sierra Leone.
"Sierra Leone’s football family has been rocked by one intrigue after the other," Kamara wrote. "Ranging from political interference to internal rifts within its membership. But the recent stabbing incident has left the nation in shock. In some of the strongest criticism of the incident, many people told this reporter that Mohammed Kallon, Emmanuel Abdulai Saffa, and Rodney were to blame for Friday’s violence. Insofar as Rodney, Kallon, and Saffa-Abdulai desperately want power at all cost, I think that they are to be held responsible for the violence," one football stakeholder said.
Emmanuel Abdulai Saffa was reportedly seen trying to assist Kambo to flee the scene after the attack on Lewis but was apprehended by angry onlookers. Reports are that Abdulai Saffa was later again intercepted at the police station seen acting as a lawyer trying to negotiate the release from police custody of Kambo.
It could be recalled that Kallon and Michael, both suspended by Fifa from active involvement in the administration of football, have been at the centre of the continuous accusations of mutiny and boycotts of league participation in leagues recognised by CAF and Fifa.
Michael, who for the past seventeen years unsuccessfully contested for the presidential seat, was expelled by Fifa in 2013 after contravening the Fifa code of ethics on the grounds of his active involvement in the country’s leading gambling firm MERCURY International of which his brother Martin Michael heads.
Football stakeholders are now urging the President of SLFA to hold the perpetrators (responsible) for the violence. The Police are also urged to take immediate action to restore sanity and peace in the football administration.
Reports are that more arrests are believed to be made over the weekend as the search intensifies for female journalist Hawa Dauda working for the betting firm (Mercury Radio) and a parliamentarian Hon. Samba believed to have aided the attacker in the stabbing incident intensified last night.
The victim of the stabbing remains in critical but stable condition with neck and head injuries according to reports. Senior officials of the FA were unavailable for comment. -- Mohamed Kamara, Sierra Leone Football news, Freetown.