Dozens of youths arrested by Sierra Leone’s military in the opposition heartland of Makeni

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 October 2022:

Dozens of unarmed youths were taken away from a house on the outskirts of the northern city of Makeni by the army, believed to be involved in ‘illegal activity’. The army has not confirmed the nature of the illegal activity, other than to report that the arrested youths spoke Guinean or Malian language.

But critics of the government are accusing the military and police of stoking political tension in the country, and that the arrest was a fabrication by the government, to implicate the main opposition APC party leaders, whom President Bio has branded as terrorists.

Last week, the police in Freetown said at a press conference that it believes there are plans by opposition political parties to cause unrest in the capital, without giving any specific evidence other than social media chit chat.

Some opposition critics say that President Bio himself and senior members of the ruling SLPP are trying to create false instability in the country, so as to declare a state of emergency that could see a whole swathes of opposition politicians arrested and the possible cancellation of local, presidential and general elections next June.

The whereabout of the youths picked up by the army last weekend and carried away in a military truck is unknown. But critics say the whole affair was stage-managed by the authorities to smear the opposition.

Independent investigations into the killing of several unarmed youths by security forces in Makeni have exposed an intolerable level of police brutality and impunity, which was also evident two months ago when dozens of youths taking part in street demonstrations were shot dead by security forces.   The remains of most of those killed are yet to be handed over to families for burial.

Scores of unarmed prisoners were shot dead two years ago at the Pademba Road prison in Freetown by presidential guards. No one in the government or ruling SLPP party has been held accountable, despite several incriminating video and audio evidence suggesting the involvement of senior government ministers and party operatives.

 

4 Comments

  1. Hmmm! Not sure what security threat a bunch of armless teenage girls and boys will present even if indeed they are from neighboring Guinea or Mali. If either Guinean or Milan government were to do a thorough inspection of their nation, scores of young Sierra Leoneans in their thousands will be discover in their capitals alone. I just hope these clueless PAOPA will not start an anti-foriegner crisis that is bound to have huge ramification, because both Mali and Guinea serves as next door Dubai for thousands of our citizens .

    If indeed there is any suspicious illegal activities at that house, the Police Force should be the one dealing with such a low threat matter, as oppose to a truck of military personnel brandishing weapons, at seemingly armless and innocent teenagers from our neighboring sister country. Both Mali and Guinea are currently under military rule, so i hope Maada Bio and his desperate clique will not tempt these sister nations to retaliate towards our own citizens living in their Nations.

  2. Kudos to our security forces for being proactive. I personally believe that since the former lifetime leader Earnest Koroma declared “Jihard” against his opponents within his APC party, the Office of National Security (ONS) should treat the threat seriously.
    I continue to wonder how the Makeni I grew up in during my teenage years have been reduced to this level due to the poor decisions of only ONE ANGRY MAN based on the fact that his handpicked stooge unexpectedly lost the 2018 presidential election. Now as promised, he is trying to “ make our country ungovernable.” In 2007, he promised to “run the country as his personal business” under his “agenda for prosperity”, but left our nation in “AUSTERITY” while he is now the richest man in our nation because of his massive looting.
    Unfortunately, the infrastructural development Makeni can boast of is the APC party office and the millions of dollar mansion built by the former president instead of factories for empowering the youths and low cost housing for the citizens.
    When our young ACC commission Francis Ben Kaifala asked him to give account for his stewardship, he decided to use BARBARIC TACTICS by using women and kids as human shields against our security forces that protected him during his 11 years of misrule and also currently protecting him.
    One of our most patriotic citizen, Dr. Sylvia Blyden, who is a member of the APC and also served as special adviser to the former president and minister has revealed that her former boss’s “puppy adebayor” in Holland, who incited the violence in Pademba Rd. Prison jail break, hoping to repeat the May 1997 incident and most of the riots in the APC strongholds around our country since 2018, is receiving his financing, planning and execution from the former lifetime leader of the APC who is a resident of MAKENI CITY.

  3. Raising false flags by the Bio government to suppressed the opposition is not new .The targets and places are always the usual suspects . The unemployed youths that are outside of education and training .And most of these security activities are geographically located in the North . You have to ask your self is the Sierra Leoneans youths from the North the most prolific and politically conscious in our country?When you hear Bio talk of his flagship free education , these are the sort of youths his government should be targeting to help not tar them with a brush that paint them as terrorist group that is up to no good .The danger of stocking tensions in the eve of a presidential election around the corner , should concern all Sierra Leoneans both home and abroad .Without the seriousness of the issues ,you will be forgiven to think this youths are boarding a school bus on their way to campus lectures or students exchange trips .But instead they are hoarded in military trucks and taken to detention centres with no access to legal representation , or their own embassies seeking clarification about their fate. What happened to the Free movement of people and goods in the ECOWAS region ?

    I believed this are unemployed Sierra Leoneans youths once again in the cross hair of Bio’s revenge politics. If on the other hand they are indeed foreign nationals which by the looks of it is very much suspect given how Bio and his acolytes are able to manufacture lies , and create unnecessary tension in a country that not long ago experienced a cost of living demonstration , I wonder what our international partners think of Bio’s latest outrageous actions. If these youths are indeed foreign , coming from the west African region , say for instance Mali , Burkina Fasso, Guinea or any of the countries in the ECOWAS region , they are spolit for choice if they indeed wants to take up armed struggle against any government . The Malian and the Burkinabe military juntas are engaged in a deadly fight with Fulani herdmens and IS terrorist .S

    o the question for the Bio government why would anyone in the ECOWAS region traveled thousands of miles from their homes to start unrest in Sierra Leone?. What is happening the crackdown that started after the cost of living demonstration and apart from the families of the dead , most people that took part in the bloody Wednesday cost of living demonstration have moved on .But Bio never forgive nor does he forget .So this latest crackdown is just a continuation of what took place on that day .

  4. I wonder why anything that has to do with security is being sabotaged by some negative comments, and attaching it to politics.
    why? Terrorism starts like this, especially when malians are involved. It’s a matter to take seriously because it’s the same thing that turned Nigeria to a deadly zone, because of negligence and political rubish. Please they need to be well investigated. Sierra Leone is a small country, don’t allow terrorism to start in that country, if not Sierra Leone Will be doomed.

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