From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Catholic Churches Reunites Police & Students
By Aruna Turay
Jun 1, 2010, 17:10

The Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church in Sierra Leone, in collaboration with the Kingtom Community members over the weekend succeeded in settling a long standing misunderstanding between the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) and pupils of the Saint Edwards Secondary School, Kingtom in Freetown at the Kingtom Parish Hall.

At the peace overture, programme Manager for the Commission David Fortune said it has always been their ultimate desire to see the two parties living in har­mony since they were neighbors as a mandate for the commission as it was set up to foster peace and unity within the Catholic Mission and the communities in which they operate. "We are only a year old and this is the first peace talks we have successfully mediated," he said, adding that it was indeed a signal that prospect lay ahead in surmounting bigger challenges in future though he said they were not envisaging such. He said they have already established in four parishes with plans to extend to other areas of the country.

Mr. Fortune admonished both the pupils and police to live in peace, and not to see themselves as enemies. He urged parents and guardians present at the ceremony to bury the hatchet and see peace as the only way forward.

The catholic coordinator for Peace Building Cecelia Moifula said the mediation effort was not about finding out who is wrong and who is right but to restore peace and tranquility to the community. She said the dispute badly affected the two parties as well as the community that hosts them. She asked everyone involved to forgive and forget for peace to be restored.

On his part, Andrew Massaquio, a Senior Teacher of St. Edwards Second­ary School, described the day as significant. He said the incident was of no use because of the destruction left in its wake. He expressed profound ap­preciation to the Commission for a job well done and called on his colleague teachers and pupils to embrace the achievement and forget about the past.

Representing the SLP was ASP Samura who noted that the police, school pupils and the community as a whole were one way affected by the incident. He however lauded the mediation effort which he said will enhance the good relationship that previously existed between them.

It could be recalled that on 14th November 2008, some officers of the SLP police attached to the Kingtom Police Barracks had a scuffle with the May Park boys resulting in a fray that left dozens of people, mostly children badly injured and properties valued millions of Leones destroyed.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.