US moves to resolve Sierra Leone VP crisis, denies housing him

US moves to resolve Sierra Leone VP crisis, denies housing him

Sunday, March 15, 2015 3:19 pm

VP Samuel Sam-Sumana: seeks US asylum

VP Samuel Sam-Sumana: seeks US asylum

US officials are in touch with Sierra Leone authorities to try to resolve a political standoff around Vice President Sam Sumana, the State Department said Sunday.

But Sumana, who has gone into hiding after requesting asylum from the United States, is not being sheltered inside the US embassy in Freetown.

“The US can confirm that Sierra Leonean Vice President Samuel Samsumana is not at the US embassy in Freetown, as some media outlets have erroneously reported,” a State Department spokesman, Darby Holladay, told AFP.

“Our embassy in Freetown has been in contact with relevant officials, and we urge all concerned to resolve the situation through appropriate procedures that respect due process and the rule of law.”

Sources close to Sumana said Saturday that he had applied for asylum at the US embassy and was in hiding while his request is being considered.

Sumana, 52, was expelled from the governing All People’s Congress (APC) party this month for what was described as “his anti-party activities, including fomenting violence.”

He has denied the allegations and has appealed against his suspension to the party leadership.

Sumana “is now in hiding at a secure location awaiting a reply to a request he has made by telephone to the American embassy for asylum for himself and his wife,” a member of his entourage said.

Heavily armed soldiers stormed Sumana’s hilltop residence on Saturday but he was not there, witnesses said.

Sumana’s expulsion came a few days after he had quarantined himself due to the death of one of his bodyguards from Ebola.


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