Suspects in the murder of a Sierra Leone journalist have been arrested and are now under investigation, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) said in a statement emailed to IPI on Wednesday.
Ibrahim Foday, 38, a reporter for Exclusive Newspaper, was stabbed to death on 12 June on the outskirts of Freetown, possibly in connection with a series of articles about a land dispute that were unpopular with those on one side of the disagreement, SLAJ reported.
Police have since arrested a constable in the Operational Support Division of the police force, and the head of Kossoh Town, one of the communities involved in the dispute, according to SLAJ and a report in the Freetown-based Concord Times.
“We will not rest until the killers of Ibrahim are brought to justice” said Umaru Fofana, President of SLAJ, in a statement. “Sierra Leonean journalists must not continue being the endangered species we seem to have become” he said, calling the case a “litmus test for the country’s media and people.”
Foday is the first journalist to be murdered in Sierra Leone since 2005, according to the IPI DeathWatch. According to SLAJ, over one hundred journalists turned out to join in the slain reporter’s funeral.
“We are saddened by the death of Ibrahim Foday, who may well have been killed in connection with his work,” said IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills. “It is good to hear that investigations have so far been productive. The Sierra Leone police should continue their work and ensure that those responsible are put behind bars, to send a clear message that targeting journalists is unacceptable and will be punished.”