Sierra Leone’s Minister of Defence, Pallo Conteh was beaten today by ex-combatants right in front of his office which is the country’s defence headquarters situated less than 50 metres from State House which is the office of the country’s president.
In a video recording of the incident obtained by Politico he appears to have also been stripped of his jacket. He fought his way rather muscularly and fled the scene while soldiers jostled with the ex-combatants. Police have made an unspecified number of arrests.
The ex-combatants have been protesting over a long drawn-out issue of the manner of their discharge from the army and the alleged non-payment of benefits due them. The military say they did pay them their benefits after they were classified as “chronically ill and mentally imbalance”. Their case was taken up by the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone which said that the military owed them. They have not been paid since.