Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 June 2023:
Dozens of young people were arrested across Sierra Leone yesterday, following street protests against the Bio-led SLPP government. Many of those arrested were badly beaten by the army and police who were seen on video kicking and punching unarmed protesters.
In one video clip seen by the Sierra Leone Telegraph, a young man was made to lie on the ground whilst a soldier kicked his head and stamped his feet on the body of the protester. Many of the pictures and videos posted on social media are too gruesome for publishing.
In other video clips, heavily armed security forces were seen making house to house search and arrests.
It is not clear whether anyone was killed yesterday but what is of grave concern this morning is the level of barbarity shown by security forces against their fellow citizens whose only crime was to come out to protest without police permission, against the government’s handling of the forthcoming elections.
Many of the placards carried by the protesters called for the sacking of the Chief Electoral Commissioner – Mohamed Konneh, who recently came under serious abuse on social media for his poor management of the electoral process, which many, including the main opposition APC have described as unconstitutional.
The fate of those arrested yesterday is unknown but writing on Twitter, the APC National Secretary General – Lansana Dumbuya said that; “The Sierra Leone police in collaboration with the SLPP government, are now arresting members of the APC party in their homes and taking them to detention facilities, even though they have not been involved in any unlawful acts.”
A police Media Unit statement published yesterday said: “Eight protesters have been arrested together with their placards at Foamex Junction, Calabatown, for conducting an unlawful demonstration to disturb the public peace.
“Their timely arrest came as a result of the joint security patrol operations conducted by both SLP and RSLAF personnel of Freetown-East.
“Suspects who identified themselves as; John Bangura, Tejan Conteh, Ibrahim Samuel Foday, Gibrilla Sesay, Mohamed Kargbo, Junior Sahr Boima, Alusine Kamara, and Mohamed Junior Mansaray are now at the CID Headquarters for further investigation.”
Elections are due in ten days, and there are major concerns in the country about the peace and stability of Sierra Leone, a country that has recently been voted by the UN to take a seat in the UN Security Council despite being governmend by a President with very appalling human rights record.
Speaking in a recorded video about the elections, American Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Reimer, appealed to all Sierra Leoneans to be peaceful.