According to an eye witness, Sannoh Kamara, who is a friend and school mate to the deceased, the two of them left for school in the morning of Thursday 4th October, 2018. He went on to say that during lunch period that fateful day they had eaten lunch after which the deceased dropped Sannoh off at his classroom and left for his own classroom a few yards away.
Sannoh went on to say that he was writing in class when some of his colleagues rushed in to tell him that the late boy (Gassama) was dying.
“Upon hearing this, I rushed outside with them to see what had happened with Gassama,” Sannoh said.
He informed AYV that upon reaching the place, he noticed the deceased lying uncomfortably on the ground and he enquired of the pupils that were standing around to tell him what had happened because when he asked the deceased to explain, the latter could not respond coherently.
According to Sannoh, he was informed that Gassama had been attacked by another pupil (name withheld for now) who immediately fled the scene after attacking Gassama. Sannoh noted, however, that upon inspection of Gassama, he did not notice any external wound or bleeding even though he had been informed that the deceased had been attacked.
“With the help of some other pupils, we carried Gassama (who was helpless and speechless) to the Principal’s office,” Sannoh said. He added that inside the office he removed the deceased shirt and started fanning him, but still the deceased was not responding to questions about what had happened to him.
Sannoh went on to say that the Principal, Mr. Fayia advised that the deceased be taken to a nearby clinic and together with a few teachers and some friends the deceased was taken to the clinic, but that after initial treatment (one injection and one drip) the deceased still did not respond and “we were advised by the doctor to take him to the Lumley Hospital.”
Sannoh went on to say that at the Lumley Hospital the doctors simply referred them to the Connaught Hospital and so they requested for an ambulance to convey them to the Connaught Hospital but that the doctor on duty refused to allow them use the ambulance on the grounds that the case had not been brought to the Lumley Hospital.
Despite pleas that the matter was an emergency and that he should allow them use the ambulance, the doctor stood his ground, according to Sannoh.
Sannoh said it was Principal Fayia who later paid a taxi to convey them to the Connaught Hospital but that unfortunately by the time they arrived at Connaught Hospital, Joshua Gassama died.
Examining the remains, Dr. Owizz Koroma (Sierra Leone’s only pathologist) said the C-3 and C-4 on the vertebrae (spinal cord) of the deceased were broken which was “most certainly the cause of death”. He informed relatives, friends and AYV that witnessed the post-mortem examination that most other internal organs of the deceased were flawless, but that there were signs of strangulation which he detected in the pancreas while a segment of the esophagus was cracked.
The pathologist further described his findings in some organs as “suffering from shock and strangulation” before the onset of death.
AYV will continue to unearth happenings until investigations are concluded and justice is reached on the perpetrator(s).