Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 September 2016
There are unofficial reports this afternoon of rioting in the capital’s eastern suburb – Rokupr.
It is not clear what sparked the social upheaval, but eyewitnesses say that groups of youths have blocked the main road leading to Rokupr.
It is understood that riot police are trying to bring the trouble under control, and that angry youths are burning tyres in the middle of the road to prevent police vehicles from entering the community.
This social disturbance comes just weeks after police shot and killed three youths in the northern district of Kabala, after a peaceful protest about the relocation of a proposed community project to another district.
Some reports from Rokupr say that today’s riot was started after police demolished properties in the community without any advance warning.
But the government has always made it known that the illegal construction of property on government land and environmentally protected areas will not be tolerated, and that they will be destroyed.
The police in Sierra Leone are having an unhappy relationship with young people across the country, amid rising crime and hooliganism.
And there are calls for better community policing helped by local community policing boards.
But the police have been accused of heavy policing tactics, especially the use of live bullets which often lead to fatalities.
Youth unemployment has remained stubbornly high in Sierra Leone, with few people – especially graduates and school drop-outs, unable to find meaningful work.
The Sierra Leone Telegraph is trying to obtain government confirmation of today’s disturbances in Rokupr, and we will update readers as and when this becomes available.