Four police officers arrested after shooting unarmed youth in private land dispute

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 April 2021:

After the shooting dead by police on Thursday of an unarmed young man – Alpha Kargbo in a private land dispute in Hastings that did not concern the police, there is growing call for the sacking of the Inspector General of Police who seems to have lost control of his force.

A statement published yesterday by police headquarters in Freetown says that four officers involved in the shooting have been arrested to face justice.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph yesterday contacted the brother of the young man shot by the police, journalist Mahmud Tim Kargbo to express sympathy to his family. Mahmoud Tim Kargbo is a frequent writer for the Sierra Leone Telegraph.

This is what the police’s statement said:

“The management of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) would like to inform the general public about a fatal shooting incident that occurred at Hastings village, on Thursday 15th April 2021, involving some of our personnel. preliminary investigations conducted so far reveal that the incident emanated from a land dispute between the now deceased Alpha Kargbo and another resident of the village.

“On suspicion that Alpha Kargbo was fatally injured, some residents of the village went on the rampage by setting roadblocks, burning down homes, throwing missiles and damaging property within the village. the police responded to this seeming public disorder situation and thereby arrested thirteen suspects.

“The four police officers who were alleged to have been involved in the fatal shooting were also arrested and taken into police custody.

“The SLP would like the public to know that these officers have since been suspended from duty and placed on administrative and criminal investigations. management wishes to appeal to the general public, particularly, residents of Hastings village, to remain calm and trust in the SLP to conduct fair and expeditious investigations into the said incident.

“The public is assured of being regularly updated on the investigations’ progress and subsequent findings upon conclusion.”

Meanwhile, the country’s Lands Complaints and Resolution Committee visited Hastings yesterday, ahead of police investigations into the shooting of Alpha Kargbo, to help resolve the land dispute that led to his unlawful killing.

According to report from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Country Planning, minister Senesie is said to be keen to ensure justice, and a lasting solution to the land dispute in Hastings that resulted in the fatal shooting last Thursday.

The Lands Complaints and Resolution Committee – led by Chairman, Alhaji Murtada Sesay and accompanied by Committee members visited the disputed site and spoke with various stakeholders in the community.  The Committee assured the community that the Ministry is concerned about the incident and the need for justice to be served. According to the Committee Secretary, work with various stakeholders to ensure a speedy investigation to resolve this matter once and for all is well underway.

But there is growing fear across Sierra Leone, especially by Diasporans who have bought property and land in the country about the hiring of heavily armed police and military personnel by rogue elements in the country to attack or intimidate them to gain possession.

These are some of the comments on social media: 

 

12 Comments

  1. My sincere heart felt condolences first of all goes to the bereaved family. But I will categorically state, that there will be no justice for this poor fallen man and his family. The so-called government in Freetown, is not a responsible government. President is lawless, immoral, corrupt, incompetent, and above all, he is an acute pathological lier. So what do you think, the police and some military men behave in like manner, lawlessness, thuggish mentality, brutality, careless, abusive, and corrupt. Will this fallen man receive justice in such a dysfunctional government and system? No not at all.

    1: Because Sierra Leone is now in a vicious circle of two evils. The evil of lawlessness, thuggery, bullying, corruption, lies, tribal identity, regional or political identity, and innocent Killings, etc. 2: The second evil is that Sierra Leone as a country has No competent credible judge/ judiciary. The semblance of judiciary in Sierra Leone today, is basically shrouded in ambiguity, corruption, injustice, and lawlessness. Tell me how this fallen man will really receive justice in such a defunct and dysfunctional system and society. I greatly doubt it much. Remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg in a plethora of innocent killings.

    The country call Sierra Leone is in a brink of catastrophic Civi war. Look at the agenda of this very criminal cartel / internationally imposed so-called government. Except if are you blind, but the hand writing is now openly and visible on the wall. SLPP has failed the country and people. Their only remedy or option now is to unleash chaos in the country, but that would be opposed, and pitched all northern tribes including some south-easterners against the SLPP and their regionalism identity ideology. Very dangerous for Sierra Leone. Dangerous.

  2. I expected the IG and the Management of SLP to have extended their apology to the bereaved family followed by sorrow words of condolences.

  3. After watching the ongoing trial of late George Floyd on national TV, I believe that every accused should go through the due process before making any conclusion. There are good and bad cops in any country.

    • Sure Mr Alusine Fallay. Every accused should go through due process before drawing any conclusion. Also, as you rightly said, there are good and bad cops in any country. More importantly Mr Alusine Fallay, there are Good Presidents and bad Presidents. Good Chief Ministers and bad Chief Ministers. Good First Ladies and bad First Ladies. Good Ministers of Finance and bad Ministers of Finance. Good Ministers of Education and bad Ministers of Education. Good Deputy Ministers of the Interior and bad Deputy Ministers of the Interior.

      Good Inspector Generals of Police and bad Inspector Generals of police in any country. That’s why IG Ambrose Sovula should take this unacceptable behaviour of these loose and rogue unserviceable policemen very seriously to make sure they pay the highest price for their actions. He has to do the right thing for him not to join the cabal of bad cops. If he fails to do the right thing on this issue, he will lose the support of the democratic and progressive alliance. God bless Mr Alusine Fallay for being apolitical on this matter and our Inspector General of Police, Ambrose Sovula.

  4. When President Bio came to power, we supported him until he started deviating from the norms and values of democracy and the promises he made to the people of this incredible and blessed country. The same for IG Ambrose Sovula. We supported him unequivocally when he was appointed Inspector general of Police. Now is the time for IG Ambrose Sovula to prove to the world that he believes in a disciplined police force, the rule of law and respect for human rights. We must always avoid crying down anyone when that person takes any responsibility because of gender, tribe, religion, party, or regional basis.

    Citizens of any country must have great expectation from their leaders until they prove unserviceable to them. Over to you, IG Ambrose Sovula, to hastily make sure that these unserviceable policemen get behind bars as soon as you possibly can. The highest penalty for such crimes should be the ultimate consequences of their brutal and barbaric act against a peaceful and armless civilian. In what direction are these misguided blokes taking our country. Nonsense! May the soul of the deceased rest in perfect peace, and the undesirable and terrible elements who perpetrated this heinous act got to jail. Amen and Amen. Father God.

  5. Sierra Leoneans and the world will see the arrest of the four notorious police officers; the government will pretend as if they are law abiding BUT at the end, those four officers will be released secretively. You know, this is well planned by this government that, they are going to set example on how people must use their cellphones in Sierra Leone. This government don’t want anyone to say anything against them.

    The people of Sierra Leone are in deep silence – their liberty, freedom and justice have been taken away under the leadership of president Maada Bio. The situation is not okay and its getting worse every single day. We the people of the republic of Sierra Leone need justice for all the brutal killings in Sierra Leone. We’ve been complaining too much and we need an answer now.

  6. What we are now witnessing is a nation on the brink of collapse; A peaceful place that was once a safe haven for everyone in search of an abode of bliss under the watchful gaze of Ernest Bai Koroma has now become totally transformed into the wild West with cowboys and bandits on each others necks desperately trying to strangle each other. An old soldier without a mission that cannot tell the simple difference between a sneeze and a regular cough is in control of the affairs of our poor Sierra Leone. O mercy,mercy me. All of our institutions are worthless,yet no one is trying to fix them in the interest of progress.

    The Police are just the ones carrying the guns,the finger that actually pulls the trigger is the President – the blame
    for the young man’s death lies squarely on his shoulders. A gun cannot pick out a target on its own,the eye behind the lenses does; And make no mistakes it was those eyes watching behind the veils in State House that singled out the young man and those 40 unarmed prisoners that were killed in cold blood in the Pademba road prison riots.

    Again, this clearly shows how poorly trained our Police officers are. Their ability to assess threats and dangers and react accordingly is something that they have never been taught ever before. When a Police officer asks why he has never been taught such things before,this is their reply “We are not paying you a salary so you can ask questions – Get your guns always ready and Shoot when I say shoot”. My deepest condolences to Mr Kargbo and his family.

  7. I wish to express my condolence to Mr Mahmoud Tim Kargbo for the loss of your brother Alpha Kargbo. No amount of expression of sorrow will bring back your brother, but you and your family be rest assured majority of Sierra Leoneans share your grief and mourn with you, because of a life cut short by the bullet of a serving Sierra Leone police officer. There was no need for it. Period. No one has the right to decide about life and death. Already your brother’s passing has brought about a change no one thought was possible under the climate of police brutality people are subjected to every day up and down the country. At least for the first time, and I stand to be corrected, police officers that commit murderous act, have now been arrested for their actions. Though it is hard for me to say this, your brother’s death is not going to go in vain. This arrest will send a chilling warning to those trigger happy officers, that the public will no longer stand for this sort of behaviour.

    You cannot use our tax payers money to arm yourself and hunt us down like wild animals. This to me is the George Floyd moment for our country. For far too long we’ve ignored the broken window policy and allow these bad apple cops to tarnish, no doubt the good name of good serving police officers. It is indeed for the good of the Sierra Leone police force to weed out all the bad cops within their ranks. Rank and file serving police officers don’t want to be associated with criminals serving within their ranks. The inspector General of police Mr Ambrose Soluva should take responsibility for the actions of his police officers. Since he took over the command of the Sierra Leone police force , we have seen a marked increase in police brutality. The discipline within the force is down. Morale is down. Police officers are now a law on to themselves. Hon Bambay Kamara was a police man of the old school type that knew the importance of a discipline police force.

    It doesn’t look like it under this Inspector General. Either he doesn’t know his job or no one told him what his job entails. Now he should do us all a favour and resign. We expect the Inspector General of police to resign. When we say an independent judiciary, its not about the judges alone, or our courts system, its every one that is involved in the execution of the laws of the state. And police officers are part of our criminal justice system. So in the interest of justice, it should not only be done in this case, but it should be seen to be done. That will bring little closure to the Kargbo family.

  8. “The public is assured of being regularly updated on the investigations’ progress and subsequent findings upon conclusion.”
    What is missing from the Police statement is this: And we have referred the incident and ourselves to the Independent Police Commission or Board for investigation. Apparently,an Independent Police Complaints Board exists. I guess in name only.

  9. Arresting these rogue elements within the SLP is one thing, however, facing true justice is another. With the highly corrupt, politicized justice system in place, chances are these murderers will walk away free within a blink of an eye. May the young man who lost his life rest in perfect peace. My condolence to the Kargbo family!!

  10. Those arrested would automatically claim to be SLPP or Mende, to beat the corrupt system. And they will receive orders from above to free them. This is now the usual narrative in Sierra Leone.

    • Absolutely Cheap. Instead, stoke a fire of peace and change, not an inferno of divisive negatives. You are singlehandedly creating a convoluted and unwarranted narrative that has no business in the search for a balance between our horribly unprofessional police force and the maintenance of law and order.

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