PUAWUI….DR. SAMA BANYA
Some soldiers who fight in some of the world’s very terrible wars suffer from a kind of mental stress after they have been discharged from the army. Many such cases have been reported among United States and United Kingdom servicemen who served in Iraq or in Afghanistan and have remained a cause of concern with the top army brass but especially with the men and women themselves as well as with their families. I am not sure what the treatment is or whether there is now a cure for the condition. Whether it is due to personal experience, or some of the ugly scenes that the affected servicemen see is not quite clear and doctors are still trying to understand it.
Since IB Kargbo and attorney-general Abdul Serry-Kamal announced the intention of the APC government to set up an inquest into the deaths in prison of former Inspector-General of police James Bambay Kamara and others, the debate as to the wisdom or otherwise of the intention has only slightly subsided. As part of my contribution to the discussion, and taking my queue from others, I have suggested that such an inquest if it goes ahead must not be limited to the December 29, 1992 killings of those people, but should be extended to other cases like the late captain Ben-Hirsch, Francis Minah Ibrahim Taqi and many others, including a very young lad whose only crime was that he was selling newspapers which were critical of the APC regime at the time. I also referred to the alleged shooting in cold blood and in his back too of Lieutenant Sandi outside state house by Lt. Colonel SIM Turay who in his own words was head of intelligence in the RSLMF at the time. SIM Turay fled the country since the incident and had remained quiet even when his name was mentioned as a probable successor to Brigadier Kelly Conteh that is until I referred to him in connection with the death of young Sandi.
Many must have read his outburst in some selected newspapers last Monday; the man almost sounded as if he was going berserk. He has with few exceptions referred to every senior military officer at the time, both above and below him in rank as well as nearly every one of his contemporaries as conspirators who planned the NPRC coup of 1992. There are few exceptions including Brigadier Tunkara, the Kalawas, the Hassan and Richard Contehs. It is not difficult to discern why their names were left out but other like the Force Commander Major-General Sheku Tarawali, Jusu Gortor, Kelly Conteh, JOY Turay and all are mentioned as being members of SIM Turay’s coup conspirators. The strange phenomenon of all this is that he Turay brought the three planned coups to the attention to the head of state Major-General Joseph Saidu Momoh who was reluctant to take the decisive action that he Turay had recommended. And so the coup went ahead led by Lieutenant Sandi and therefore the gallant patriotic SIM Turay shot the poor boy in his back.( Italics mine!)
Did anyone ever read such a bizarre story as if coming from someone possessed? Imagine the scenario; Momoh’s government did not hesitate to execute Francis Minah, Gabriel Kaikai and others on what many still think was trumped up evidence. Before that in Steven’s days, the APC government did not spare Dr.Mohamed Sorie Fornah, Ibrahim Taqi and others and yet his protégé would be told by his chief intelligence officer SIM Turay on more than three occasions of a coup plot with all the evidence and he did nothing until he was overthrown on a cool Wednesday morning? Come on Turay, credit us with a little intelligence; I am sure that even many diehard APC loyalists would find his story strange. SIM Turay had not been to any war and as far as is known he does not suffer from any post traumatic or post conflict stress.
But there is a common mental disease whose characteristics may include the separation of the intellect from the emotion resulting in inappropriate distortions in the normal logical thought process or DELUSION- A normal perception which is given delusional significance. It is also the experience of having thoughts put into one’s mind by another person. All these fit into the description of SCHIZOPHRENIA. (Apologies to our one and only patriotic Psychiatrist Edward Nahim) There is often a precipitating factor. Could my reference to SIM Turay and lieutenant Sandi have provoked an attack of the disease in the former soldier I wonder? Someone has said that his foolish ranting has the tendency to start a Temne/Limba versus Mende conflict. Astafulai, but he must be watched.