Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 June 2016
There are reports of a major security breach at the Lungi international airport, of a man attempting to board an Air France plane with petrol, a matchbox and a cigarette lighter, among other items in his possession.
A three-and-a-half hour long closed circuit television (CCTV) footage shows he had spent over three hours on and around the runway, with a traveller’s bag, and he had even changed his shirt preparing to board the plane before he was spotted.
The incident took place last Saturday evening. It is believed that the man was without a valid passport, a flight ticket or a boarding pass, but made his way to the airport runway. He boarded the flight conveyor bus with checked-in Air France passengers.
One report says the bus arrived beside the plane where he was detected as passengers started boarding the plane.
Another source however says he was spotted on the bus shortly after he had boarded to be taken to the plane.
Police Local Unit Commander, Superintendent Abioseh Hyde told Politico that the man entered the airport runway through a gate usually reserved for the airport General Manager which he apparently found unlocked.
He had just finished performing the Muslim Zuhr (2 O’ Clock) prayer in the airport mosque.
The local police chief denies that the man, whose expired passport bears the name Ibrahim Kanu but his national ID card bears the name Blessing Kanu, also had a knife on him.
Kanu, 31, was arrested and handed over to the Sierra Leone Police station in Lungi who are investigating his possible motive. Supt Hyde says eight other people were arrested but that all but Kanu have been released on bail. Kanu has been transferred to Freetown.
Those arrested and released are airport workers. The CCTV footage shows them lying close to Kanu beside the runway before the plane landed, until he boarded the bus.
There was panic at the airport when the incident happened, an airline official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said. The British security firm Westminster is in charge of security at the airport.
They are yet to make any public statement on the incident. The head of the company in Sierra Leone, John Dromond, could not give much information when contacted by Politico. He, however, said that since the matter was under investigation, it wouldn’t be appropriate for him to comment on it. “Investigations are still going on. That’s how much I can say,” he concluded.