To all previous/regular visitors to this site

On the night of Friday 13 August, I switched on my PC and, as before, tried to get on to do my regular weekend work on the web site. It emerged that unknown to me somebody had sent me a virus, which made it impossible for me to get to any of the files on my hard disk. My operating system was totally paralysed. I am told that it was a malicious act!

I am not a computer buff so it has been an uphill struggle for me to get my PC back in working order. I have had to reformat my disk, in the course of which I have lost some - though mercifully not all - of my data files including some very valued research material which I had rather carelessly and uncharacteristically not backed up. I also lost the mail addresses of some of my web correspondents. (So if you read this message please acknowledge and resend your address.)

I hope that whosoever did this will refrain from such action in future. Surely if you do not like or agree with what is published on the site you can at least write to me and say so! But it really does not pay to spoil the enjoyment of others who have found this site extremely useful, judging by reactions I had been receiving up till then. Considering the troubled times that Sierra Leone is going through, especially during this period of a fragile and unconsolidated peace truce, information and analysis of some of the attendant key issues is of vital importance. That is all one is trying hard to do on this site, at no expense to anyone but myself.

Naturally, I cannot guarantee that this event will not occur again but at least I have taken extra rudimentary caution to make it more difficult for it to happen …again. 

My apologies to all visitors who may have been disappointed by the absence of new material and comment on the site. I hope to make up for all the time and information lost during the period of my enforced inertia.

There was just one consolation for me during this month in particular, what with all the frenetic activities over the Lomé Agreement and the hostage-taking crisis and the subsequent releases. I was literally commandeered by radio and tv stations for comment and analyses of these events. Listeners to BBC World service programmes like News Hour and the World Today would have heard my comments on three separate occasions over the last two weeks. I was also a guest interviewee on the BBC South East Asia’s News Report and the BBC Scotland’s early morning Today programme.

It is quite comforting that after so many years when the international press was totally apathetic towards Sierra Leone’s affairs despite our incessant pleadings with them, there is now at least some real interest in what is happening in our country. I feel especially privileged that I am able to help explain some of those issues to rest of the world and I will gladly seize upon all opportunities to do so in future.

Let’s hope that there will be no more unnecessary interruptions on this site. I hope to resume with my first report in the next 48 hours.

Ambrose Ganda