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NEWS : Local News  

In Sierra Leone, Sojas Take Over Lungi
By Abdul Fonti
Sep 22, 2009, 17:38
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Personnel of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) are presently manning the security affairs of Lungi and its environs, Police Chief of Media and Communications, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ibrahim Samura has disclosed in Freetown.

It was resolved that the security affairs of Lungi be handed over to the military after a recent riot between the police and civilians resulted in the loss of lives, properties and leaving several others wounded and hospitalized.

In a meeting of several stakeholders including the Minister of Political Affairs and Mineral Resources, Alpha Kanu, Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Dauda Kamara, Brigadier Komba Mondeh and local authorities, on Saturday 19th
 September 2009, it was resolved that all police personnel in Lungi, with the exception of those manning the airport, be withdrawn with immediate effect.

At the said meeting, a decision was also reached to withdraw the Police Local Unit Commander (LUC) of the Lungi Police Division, Superintendent Henry Sesay, whilst Police Boss Max Conteh has been temporarily deployed in the area as LUC.

According to ASP Samura, all checkpoints, security posts and police stations will be manned by military personnel until such a time when the matter would have been resolved amicably.

Reports filtering in from Lungi indicate that a total of about three people lost their lives on Thursday 17th
 September 2009 when riot broke out between the police and youths which resulted in the firing of live bullets by the police.

A UN helicopter had to airlift wounded victims to the Emergency Hospital in Freetown, whilst several others were hospitalized at the Government Hospital in Lungi.

Earlier, the youths of the township protested against what they described as the ineptness of the police personnel in the area to adequately secure the area, especially from armed robbery attacks.

It was reported that the police initially started firing tear gas canisters at the protesting youths, but later allegedly resorted to firing of live rounds of ammunitions directly at the protesters.  

The deadly incident occurred on the second year anniversary of the All Peoples Congress (APC) government since it assumed power on 17th
 September 2007.

Whilst the president and a whole lot of government functionaries were busy celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitri anniversary, several citizens in Lungi were at the same time dying of bullet wounds, allegedly inflicted on them by police personnel who are supposed to be saving life and property.

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

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