In an unprecedented display of true Islamic brotherhood and national solidarity, Sierra Leoneans, Guineans, Senegalese, other African communities and Saudis converged on 29thAugust, 2012 in one of the most popular mosques in Riyadh, King Khaled Bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud Mosque, to give their final respect to our Press Attaché’s younger brother, Mohamed Ali Jalloh, before escorting him to his final worldly abode. Mohamed Ali, 22, unusually disappeared from his elder brother’s home after Ramadan ‘Tarawih’ prayers some three weeks ago without leaving a clue as to where he might have gone. Due to this painful reality, relentless and frantic efforts were exerted by all quarters of the Sierra Leone community and other communities in Riyadh in an aim to locate him.
Few hours after his disappearance on the night of 5th August, 2012, an official report was made to the Saudi Police and all concerned authorities. To leave no stone unturned, a trip was even taken recently by his brother and other concerned citizens of Sierra Leone to Taif, Makkah and Madinah, primarily to search for the disappeared young man, but he was not found.
However, all the above efforts did not make much of a difference until Sunday, 26th August, 2012, when it was painfully learnt that Mohamed Ali Jalloh had been killed in a gruesome and fatal road accident on the very day he got missing at home. After performing the Islamic burial prayers on Mohamed Ali’s corpse yesterday, he was frantically taken on the shoulders of almost certainly everyone taking part in the congregation to Ul-Hammam cemetery where he was colourfully entombed with outpouring emotions, heavy hearts and heartfelt supplications.
Indeed, that was the kind of honour that can only be accorded to great men. And from our human perception, young Mohamed Ali was great in every sense of the word; great in his character; great in his mind; great in his ambition; and, above all, great in his love for Islam. So, no wonder, therefore, Mohamed Ali was given all the love and respect by his fellow compatriots and Muslim brothers who saw in him a martyr that should be emulated.
Meeting at the Embassy of Sierra Leone in Riyadh
A couple of days earlier, the Embassy of Sierra Leone, through the Sierra Leone Nationals’ Union, had requested all Sierra Leoneans to meet at the Chancery to pay their tributes to our revered Press Attaché’s brother immediately after the funeral. The meeting was opened with prayers. Mr. Eric Gamanga, the First Secretary, introduced Mr. Ibrahim Yilla, Minister Counselor and Head of Chancery, as the Chairman of the session. In his turn, Mr. Yilla warmly welcomed all the attendees and called upon His Excellency, Ambassador Wusu B. Munu to address the audience on this sad and high charged historic day for Sierra Leoneans in the Kingdom.
With a heavy heart, Ambassador Munu welcomed everybody noting that it was indeed a sad occasion. He stated that it was absolutely heart wrenching for Alhaji Jalloh, the Information Attaché, who lost his brother at such a prime age. His Excellency depicted the deceased young man as unassuming, innocent, diligent and well behaved. He furthered that Mohamed Ali has finally deserted the world on a happy note, but said it is now for us to derive the useful lessons from his tragic end. On behalf of the Mission and the entire Sierra Leone community in Riyadh, the Ambassador expressed profound sympathy and deep condolences to the bereaved Jalloh family.
Speaking of the Press Attaché, Ambassador Munu noted the great contributions the Press Attaché has made in face-lifting the Chancery. He said Mr. Jalloh has taken the Embassy to higher dimensions never witnessed before with professionalism, experience and humility. With the Press Attaché’s presence at the Embassy, Ambassador Munu considered himself the luckiest and the most fortunate among the Sierra Leone envoys who had had the honour to represent Sierra Leone in Saudi Arabia. He said he was, therefore, tremendously delighted that the entire Sierra Leone community has gathered in unison to honour the deceased and to profoundly sympathize with the Press Attaché on the loss of his brother thereby reciprocating just a little of the invaluable contributions he has made in elevating the status of the Embassy and the harmony existing among the ranks of the community.
On a personal note, the envoy described a dead man as a prisoner who needs outsiders to defend him. Thus, H.E. kindly asked the Jalloh family to display forbearance in their most trying times. He also highlighted the significance of family and depicted it as the most important of all organizations. At this juncture, he referred to some elders of the community like: Sheikh Mohamed Bailah Bah, Sheikh Ahmad Bah, commonly known as Karamokoh and other citizens as people who have demonstrated exemplary family ties since the beginning of this tragic scenario. He lauded those who took the extra mile to travel to Taif, Makkah and Madinah recently in search of the young Mohamed Ali before he was later found dead. He cited family ties as the strongest of all bonds.
He said the most pathetic and painful part of the whole episode is Mohamed Ali’s tragic end. He advised that the Jalloh family should not stomach the pain to excess. Ambassador Munu ended his speech by thanking everyone for their valuable contribution and show of solidarity. He singularly thanked the Senegalese Defense Attaché and other personalities for gracing the occasion. The Chairman thanked Ambassador Munu for his fatherly and brilliant address. He, too, went on to describe Mohamed Ali as a young man who was promising, hardworking and enthusiastic. However, he depicted death as natural.
The Chairman described the Press Attaché as dynamic, visionary and that he is part and parcel of the Mission. He reiterated the remarks earlier made by the Ambassador about the Press Attaché’s vital contribution in polishing the image of the Embassy both locally and internationally. On the other hand, he lauded the unique solidarity and unity manifested by the Sierra Leone community. With tears in his eyes, Mr. Yilla thanked everyone for the exemplary role played by the community. At this juncture, the Chairman also thanked Saudis repeatedly before ending his remarks.
In his turn, Sheikh Bailah Bah, a prominent elder in the community thanked the former speakers. He cited his background as having grown up in the Fourah Bay community, east end of Freetown. He admitted that he personally came to Know the Press Attache only after the latter’s appointment to the Mission in Riyadh a couple of years ago. However, he said he was aware of the invaluable efforts the Jalloh family made in encouraging the Fulah elders to educate their children in Western education along with the Islamic education. He also stated the fact that the Press Attache comes from a religious background.
The Press Attache, in his turn, greeted all the attendees with the Islamic greeting and conveyed the heartfelt greetings of the Jalloh family both here and in Sierra Leone to the entire Sierra Leone community in Riyadh. He also extended the greetings of the Jalloh family in the Port Loko, Tonkolili, Bombali and Koinadugu districts to the audience. He said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring emotions, solidarity and support he has witnessed and received from everybody since the day his younger brother disappeared until he was found dead. He said he was appreciative and grateful to all.
The Press Attaché expressed his appreciation for the presence of Mr. Mohamed Bah, a Sierra Leonean diplomat attached to the U.S Embassy in Riyadh, Colonel Al- Seck, the Senegalese Military Attaché, representatives from the Sudanese Embassy and other dignitaries for the exemplary role they played since the deceased disappeared. He noted that his father had called on behalf of the family to convey his greetings and appreciation to all his compatriots for their unique solidarity and love for the Jalloh family.
The Press Attache cited another fact about his younger brother that he was born on 6th August, 1990, and died on 6th August, 2012, something he and the attendees deemed uncommon and a rare coincidence. He said he brought the young man to Saudi Arabia to pursue his goal. He said the deceased had only two hobbies: learning the Quran and playing sports. He concluded that now that Mohamed Ali has passed away, all that is required from the family and friends of the family is to continually pray for the deceased. He ended his remarks by thanking again his compatriots for the honour they have showered on him and his family. He said he was grateful to all for their kind gestures and unanimous stance. In his contribution, the Senegalese Military Attaché expressed his condolences on behalf his Embassy to the Jalloh family and the entire Sierra Leone community. He spoke of the Press Attaché as a very good man. He said he was tremendously moved and amazed by the melodious recitation of the deceased when he met him some months ago at a nearby Mosque. He said when he first heard the young man reciting the Holy Qur’an he thought he was a Saudi but was more delighted when he learnt that he was an African.
Sheikh Ahmad Ibrahim Bah took the floor and greeted all with the Islamic greetings. He said the deceased will be greatly missed by the community. He described him as an honest and God fearing young man. On a special note, the Sheikh advised all to fear Allah in both private and open so as to get one’s self prepared for the ultimate end. He concluded by supplicating for the deceased. Sheikh Mohamed Saeed Jabbie took the floor and lauded the deceased and also supplicated Allah the Almighty to condone his sins and grant him the Paradise. Mr. Mohamed Yadaly Alpha Cole prayed for the deceased and asked all to pray for Mohamed Ali and furthered that the deceased has done his own part in life, and that it is incumbent upon us to ready ourselves for our unknown and hidden appointed times.
In giving the vote of thanks, the President of the Union, Mr. Uthman Kargbo lauded the entire community for the amazing solidarity and unity they have manifested this time around. That is the Islamic teaching, he stated. He furthered that the Islamic brotherhood is greater than any blood brotherhood. He said death is a natural consequence and that the sole purpose of our creation is the worship of the Almighty Allah. He said from experience, good things and kind people do not live long. Mr. Ibrahim Yilla, the Chairman of the occasion once again thanked the audience;
The meeting was concluded with prayers.
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