COCORIOKO EXCLUSIVE :

As the families of the 29 people extrajudicially executed by the National Provisional Ruling Council ( NPRC ) in 1992 begin demonstrating in front of the U.S. Embassy in their determined bid to seek justice, the wife of  the late Capt. Hanciles Bangura, one of the murdered soldiers , has granted Cocorioko an exclusive interview to explain how her husband was killed  for no reason by the depraved junta and the tremendous trauma  and suffering her family had undergone since that fateful day.

 

 

 

 

Mrs. Samira Bangura is still grieving her late husband who left her five daughters and a son to look after following his senseless murder by the NPRC junta members . She told this paper that Col. Bangura was the love of her life and she has not stopped grieving for him and missing him since he was taken away from her 20 years ago.  Her voice was punctuated with grief  as she narrated the story to this newspaper.  Her children  too  have never stopped grieving what was a monumental loss to them at a tender age –A loving, doting and devoted father whom they loved with a passion but who was suddenly snatched away from them for no reason by fellow soldiers who did not understand the value of human life. .Mrs. Bangura  remembered with sorrow that the unfortunate event occured on December 29, 1992.

The soldiers came to Benguema Barracks  around 1 am that early morning  to get her husband . Capt. Bangura , who was then Quarter-master of the Army,  was fast asleep. The soldiers  said that they had come to invite him to a meeting at Brigade Headquarters .The late Capt. Hanciles Bangura got up, dressed and wanted to drive himself to the meeting , but the soldiers refused and asked him to ride with them in their truck . There were lots of trucks outside. The soldiers left with her husband. That was the last  time  she and her children would ever see their breadwinner.

The tearful woman said she  had a terrible sense of premonition and this was confirmed around 5 am when she heard that her husband had been executed along with 28 other people. Alarmed, Mrs. Bangura went out to verify the story. She had been told that at the Military  Headquarters people had seen some  military trucks being hosed down  with water that morning  to clean  off the blood of the victims of the killings. She said she went to the CID and was referred to the  Military  HQ , where nobody could tell her anything about why her husband , who had been taken away to attend a meeting, ended up being slain by his colleague soldiers.

One of the most disturbing things Mrs. Bangura told COCORIOKO  was that when she went to the Officers’ Mess to enquire about her husband, the soldiers were having a massive party and celebrating the extrajudicial killings of the 29 people . She was aghast that human beings would be so callous as to throw such a jubilant party to celebrate the senseless killings of their fellow humans.

Continuing her pitiful story, the woman who found herself as a widow she never dreamt herself to be so unexpectedly ,  told COCORIOKO  that matters worsened that morning  when the soldiers  stormed their military quarters  , claiming that they had come to search for arms and ammunition. The soldiers put the whole family under house arrest and banned  people from visiting them that whole day . She said that there was no food and the whole family was subjected to hunger that lasted the whole day . The soldiers lied to her that her husband was killed during an exchange of gunfire between the junta soldiers and dissidents at Juba Hill , but diplomats  living around Juba  doubted the story as they had not heard any exchange of gunfire that morning around Juba Hill .One of Mrs. Bangura’s daughters  said that the soldiers attempted to rape the women in the barracks  but  luckily for them, neither her, nor her other sisters were molested. Her other sister  also confirmed the atrocities  committed in the barracks,  but she too thanked God that she and her sisters were not touched . However,  they were made to suffer hunger that whole day.

The marauding soldiers ransacked the whole house and stole Mrs. Bangura’s  sewing machine and the personal belongings of the family, leaving  her with only the dress she had on. The soldiers also cleaned out her husband’s bank account.  “Col . Samura was the C.O.  I cried to him . I had 5 girls and one boy .One had just taken his GCE. Samura came and did his best to try to free us . That night, soldiers came to the area and raped women in the barracks . “We were protected by Mr. Samura and Major  Thomas Momodu. .Major  Momodu came and decided to save me and my daughters and son. We escaped the beseiged barracks by  walking  through the bush from Benguema to Waterloo”, she explained  .  She commended Major Thomas Momodu highly for saving her and her children. When they got to the main road, Major Momodu arrived with a truck . “Nigerian soldiers at checkpoints were crying for me and my children. “, she narrated tearfully.

Mrs. Bangura said her husband was an agriculturists also . Germany had donated him a truck, but it  impounded by Col. Fallah Sewah. She said she and her children had to be going to the Lebanese to beg for food. While undergoing all these sufferings,  She and her family found out that the soldiers were secretly surveillancing and trailing her and her children wherever they went. She realized that  their lives were in danger .

A Nigerian soldier would later teach  her how to play the lottery which was how she and her children came to the U.S.

Mrs. Bangura complained that she never saw her husband’s dead body. Nor did she ever see his grave. “Even the  body of the late President Samuel Doe  of Liberia was displayed. In our case, none of the bodies of our family was  ever returned. We do not even know where they were buried. No single dime was ever given to me, though my husband had accrued benefits  . Words can never explain how me and my daughters suffered. We could not even get one cup of garri  to eat .  If I ever go to Freetown, I will demand my husband’s grave and death certificate . I learnt that the body was dumped in the No.2 River . ”

Mrs Bangura and her two  daughters told COCORIOKO that the soldiers commited atrocities against relatives of some of the other soldiers   who were mourning their relatives at Benguema Barracks .  She explained  that the late Lt. Col. Yaya Kanu, who was accused of being the coup leader, was not involved in any coup plot . He was in prison where he was picked up and executed that morning with the other victims. “How could somebody in prison take part in a coup plot ?”  , she asked. She said her husband was a very peaceful, loyal and obedient soldier and he too did not participate in any coup plot.

Mrs. Bangura said that what the NPRC  did to her husband was very unfair to him because he had served the army meritoriously for 25 years. It was his first job since he left school. He served the army faithfully for 25 years without any query,  only for him to be killed by his colleagues without a just cause ,  his accounts frozen and his family made to suffer extremely.

The daughters, who were lucky that they were not molested  said  however that it was a double loss for them. Their father, Captain Hanciles Bangura was not the only family member killed. Their uncle, the late Col. Kawuta Dumbuya,  was also murdered that morning by the NPRC. One could therefore imagine the grief the family went through at the hands of the NPRC.

The family lamented that though the NPRC  committed these evil acts , their leaders Capt. Valentine Strasser , Brigadier Maada Bio ( the present Presidential candidate of the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party -SLPP -) and others were paid off fabulously by the International Community to force  them to  conduct elections ,  hand over to a civilian government and  come to the U.S. to live flamboyantly .Maada Bio, one of the junta soldiers ,  lived in the U.S. for a while before leaving for Ghana where he opened a car dealership. He is now trying to be President of Sierra Leone. Mrs Bangura  accused the NPRC of selling Paramount Hotel, the OAU  villas and the country’s gold and diamonds.

The family is calling for justice for their beloved father as well as husband and the children’s uncle  . They told COCORIOKO  that life has been bitter for them without Capt. Hanciles Bangura . They miss him every waking moment of their lives and  they don’t want his needless killing to go in vain. “Human life is very precious and those who killed him must be made to account for their wickedness”, they asserted.

Mrs. Bangura is passionately appealing to  the UN, the United States, all human rights organizations and people of  goodwill to help the family secure justice for her  late husband, who did not deserve his gruesome end at the hands of wicked soldiers.” We want them to show us where they dumped his body and also we want those who killed him to account for their murder.”

SAMIRA AND HANCILES’ WEDDING PICTURE

 

© 2012, COCORIOKO. All rights reserved. – Discuss this and other related articles on the Salone Forum

One Response to “Late Capt. Hanciles Bangura’s wife tells how NPRC murdered her husband for no just case”

  1. I sobbed with tears reading Mrs. Bangura’s family ordeal when her late husband was wisked away only to be killed by his fellow soldiers. It’s hard to imagine how heartless those thugs are. I always pray that the truth will come out why and what comspired when those immoral criminals choosed to murder 29 people. The Almighty God will guide us to the end of this atrocious acts. It’s highly time for all concerned Sierra Leoneans to raise the issue and support the victims families. After twenty years, the memory is still alive..so should justice, to bring down those murderers.

    Reply