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NEWS : Local News  

Sierra Leone's Ruling Party's Second Anniversary Celebs Marred by Violence
By Abdul Fonti
Sep 18, 2009, 16:59
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Reports monitored from Lungi, northern Sierra Leone, indicate that the township, situated in the Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, was yesterday marred by violence that allegedly left several people dead and injured.

The sudden violence that erupted in the peaceful Lungi Township coincided with the commemoration of the two years anniversary of the All Peoples Congress (APC) government.

Whilst His Excellency the President and a battery of government functionaries, were jubilating the formal switching of Bumbuna light at Kingtom, several citizens in Lungi were dying with bullets wounds and several others hospitalized.

It is reported that the youths in the town launched series of attacks on the Rotifunk Police Post, in protest of the alleged display of ineptness by the police to protect residents from armed robbery attacks in the township.

According to reports, the police started by firing teargas canisters, until it reaches a point that the police personnel allegedly resorted to firing live bullets directly at the rampaging youths.

The riot that started from the early hours of Thursday 17th September 2009 and lasted until night falls brought the entire township to a standstill.

The exact number of those allegedly killed was yet to be ascertained as we go to press, but unconfirmed reports state that the numbers range from four to seven people.

Scores of those who suffered severe injury were airlifted to the Emergency Hospital in Goderich, whilst others were hospitalized at the Lungi Government Hospital.

The row between the youths and police in the Lungi Township started on the night of Tuesday 15th September 2009, when armed robbers launched several attacks on residents, without the intervention of the police, the All Peoples Congress (APC) Port Loko District Chairman, Mohamed Sallu Kamara aka Manga disclosed.

According to him, residents telephone the police severally, but the police failed to respond on grounds that their patrol cars where not having fuel and batteries.

This situation, he went on, forced the youths to mobilize themselves and mounted a check point at the Mahera junction to protect themselves from robbers.

Mr. Kamara explained further that the police stormed the scene and executed mass arrests.

Few hours later, robbers attacked a shop at No. 1 Mahera Road, about 50 yards from where the police dismantled the youth checkpoint, and carted away properties worth millions of Leones, including bags of rice and cements.

The angry youths reportedly assembled themselves in the morning hours of yesterday at the Rotifunk Police Post and demanded the unconditional release of their colleagues, reports state.

Unconfirmed reports allege that the youths became impatient and started pelting stones on the police post; but that they were earlier calmed down by local authorities.

A bitter encounter later ensued between the police and the youths.

Police Local Unit Commander (LUC) in Lungi, Superintendent Henry Sesay said the youths were arrested because they have no authority to mount a checkpoint, especially when the police and other local authorities were never informed.

He continued that the youths were in possession of weapons including knives and machetes.

The LUC added that they were later released and advised to desist from disorderly behaviours.

The youths, he continued, did not heed to the advice, as according to him, they mobilized themselves again and started pelting stones on the police post.

He however, denied the use of live bullets on the protesters, but accepted they used teargas canisters.

As at time of going to press, the Awareness was unable to ascertain what actually ignited the tension that resulted to the alleged firing of live bullets by the police and alleged loss of lives.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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