From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Police Brutalize Senior Lotto Staff
By Aruna Turay
Sep 16, 2010, 17:28

A team of five police officers yesterday unleashed brutality on the Assistant Internal Auditor of the Sierra Leone Lotto Company, Sheka Sannoh for allegedly parking his jeep at a space designated by the police at the time as ‘no parking area’ which is in the frontage of his Bathurst Street office.


The police officers from the Central Police Division reportedly molested and beat up Mr. Sannoh after dragging him from his red colour jeep. He was later bundled into a waiting police van and driven to the Central Police Division where he was detained for several hours.


This unfortunate incident described by onlookers as an abuse of the human right and dignity of the victim came about when Mr. Sannoh reportedly parked his red jeep with Registration Number AEA 840 in front of his office along Bathurst Street. Eye witnesses say, the police had earlier cordoned the area and were preventing pedestrians from passing through and vehicles from parking within the vicinity. It was at this juncture according to eye witnesses that Mr. Sannoh appeared with his vehicle to park.


Inspector General of Police Francis Munu

 

One of the police officers identified as among the beaters, PC 10688 Jah S.A. told this reporter on enquiry that Mr. Sannoh ignored all signs made to him not to park in the area and that direct personal representation was made to him by one of the police officers not to park in the area as an important official function was underway. PC Jah maintained that Sannoh refused to comply and that it was at that juncture that he was pulled out of the vehicle. He said that he resisted them and in the process, one of his colleagues sustained an injury and a radio communication set was damaged.

 

“We did not only pounce on the man and beat him up just like that,” PC Jah said, “he was stubborn and tried to force his way even when we had told him to stop,” he said, adding that Sannoh even started abusing them. According to him they had no other option but apply minimum force to arrest him for defying a traffic order.

 

But Sannoh has a different story. According to him, the space he had parked his car is his usual parking lot and was far away from where the said official activity was going on. “I was conscious that I was not doing anything wrong nor was I challenging the police,” he said. He said the police merely did what they did to him because they think they are above the law,” he said noting that when they confronted him, he pleaded with them and explained that he was merely parking in front of his office and that he was going to work. But according to him, he was suddenly shoved by one of the officers and another started punching him. He said contrary to the police’s allegation, he never retaliated and that it was his colleagues in the office who later came to his rescue. He said he then ordered to follow them to the Central Police which he again complied with, but as he moved, he was bundled into a police van and in the process, his shirt was torn. At the station, he explained that he was detained for several hours. “Nobody asked me what happened,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, the incident caused some amount of pandemonium as staff of Lotto and passersby also attempted to retaliate against the police officers at the scene. A reinforcement of police riot officers had to be called to contain the situation.


Meanwhile Sannoh said he will be lodging a formal complaint with the Complaints, Discipline and Internal Investigation Department of the Sierra Leone regarding the molestation meted to him by the five police officers.  



© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.