By Bailey Henneberg
In the wake of the murder of Aiah Nyanga Tongu, people from Sierra Leone are organizing a local town hall meeting to stop violence in their community.
A number of Sierra Leoneans believe the March 18 murder of 34-year-old Aiah Nyanga Tongu, of Greenbelt, is the latest crime in an upsurge of violence in their community in Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia, according to the Sierra Leone newspaper Cocorioko.
On March 18, patrol officers responded to Prince George’s Hospital for the report of a death. Tongu, of the 9100 block of Edmonston Road, in Greenbelt came into the emergency room with difficulties breathing after an assault, according to Prince George’s County police. He was pronounced dead the same day.
On April 4, homicide detectives received a report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruling Tongu’s death a homicide. Detectives arrested 26-year-old Teddy Kaikai Marchant, of the 5500 block of Decatur Street, Bladensburg, Maryland, and 36 year-old Alhaji Abu Bakarr, of the 1400 block of Tongue Street in Bowie as suspects in the case, according to police. Both Marchant and Bakarr are in jail on charges related to this incident and are being held without bond at the Prince George’s County Department of Corrections, police reports said. Their photos are attached.
The violent trend in the community is so alarming, concerned Sierra Leoneans have called an emergency Stamp Out Violence Town Hall Meeting on Saturday at the Mirage Hall from 2 to 6 p.m., according to Cocorioko. Mirage Hall is located in Langley Park.
Yolanda Thompson, Esq., a ranking organizer, told Patch Thursday, that she does not have figures and statistics, but she talked about how on a monthly basis there is some sort of fighting or police intervention at a Sierra Leone event.
“We need to figure out why it is that we’re doing this to ourselves,” Thompson said.
People are not surprised when fighting happens, according to Thompson, “ It’s becoming the order of the day, so that shock value is lost.”
Sierra Leonean recording artist and reggae performer JayArr knew Tongu and helped him out on the night he was injured until a friend took Tongu to the hospital. Cocorioko reported JayArr’s reaction and recollection of the night’s events. JayArr said he had gone to the same five-year-old’s birthday party as Tongu, on the 9700 block of Martin Luther King Highway. The two had chatted.
As JayArr headed home, he saw Tongu sitting on the curb with people surrounding him. That’s when he got out to help.
“I was shocked to hear that Tongu had passed when I woke up the following morning. Tongu was a very cool guy, the last person to be involved in violence and nonsense,” JayArr said. “He was an aspiring music producer and one of the best goalkeeper in the area playing for the Itals, a Sierra Leonean football club,” JayArr told Cocorioko.
Anyone with information about this case is may call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit at (301) 772-4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1-866-411 TIPS (8477), text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone, or go to http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/police/ to submit a tip online.