Government invokes joint military and police operation to curb crime

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 19 August 2019:

The government of president Julius Maada Bio of Sierra Leone, last week invoked a joint operation of both military and police officers to patrol the streets and areas that are notorious for serious crimes across the country.

This joint operation, known as the Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC-P) will be in place for six months. It was approved by the country’s National Security Council (NSC) which is headed by President Julius Maada Bio.

According to the NSC, both police and military officers will carry out night patrols and other security related activities in order to curb the rising numbers of armed robbery and violent attacks being reported across the country.

Military Aid to Civil Power (MAC-P) is normally invoked to handle extreme situations that pose threat to the peace and tranquillity of Sierra Leone, or any part thereof; and to assist the police deal with situations that greatly overwhelm their capability to respond.

The Sierra Leone Police is charged with the responsibility to protect lives and property by working with security partners and stakeholders in a collaborative and community policing manner.

A police statement issued last week, said that: “As a way to ensure that the people we police are safe in their various communities and go about doing their daily activities unhindered, there is now a security sector joint deployment of police and soldiers across the country”.

The aim they say is to conduct targeted raids, arrest hardcore criminals and prosecute; curb armed robbery activities and anti-social behaviour; provide safety and security, to enhance political and social development.

“So, this is a normal operation which is in existence since the time of policing. Names of operations do change with time, based on the prevailing circumstances in fighting crime. We are not in a state of emergency, people are free to move as one of their fundamental rights. Equally, the police have the right to screen and resolve informally by using wise discretion to admonish. So, members of the public are also expected to provide timely information for the police to fulfil its core mandate in life and property protection,” the Media and Communications unit in the North East said last week.

11 Comments

  1. In the whole of Africa when it comes to discipline especially maintaining law and order, Sierra Leone has been the trailblazer. Retired brigadier Bio took a bold step by inviting late rebel leader Foday Sankoh for peace talks when he took power within the 3 months that he ruled our nation, and returned it back to a democratic government under the leadership of late President Tejan Kabba.

    Leaders from the ECOWAS drew a line on the sand that overthrowing a a democratic elected government will no longer be tolerated in Africa, after Johnny Paul Koroma overthrown late President Kabba and a new world order was set when he was reinstated.

    Our nation is the first country in Africa, when the citizens captured a Rebel leader ( Foday Sankoh) and currently some of his bandits are still serving jail terms in Rwanda.

    Sierra Leone will also go down in history as the first country to prosecute a sitting president of an African nation (Charles Taylor of Liberia) for war crimes against the citizens of our nation and he is still serving life sentence in Britain.

    Finally, I personally believe that when it comes to discipline Dr. Maada Bio is ready to reverse the level of violence that has infested our nation for the past ten years under the lifetime leadership of former President Koroma and the APC. With the help of God and the citizens of our nation, he will definitely succeed, and hopefully we will continue to have elections that will be free of violence.

  2. The multitude of problems,and challenges our nation is facing are not only ordinary but also deeply spiritual. True. Its very easy for those with keen,discerning vision to understand that it is a greater power,preventing this Country from moving forward,and making progress, because of something,strangely abominable its leaders,and people have done in the eyes of Almighty God.

    And who is it upon the face of the beautiful earth that can struggle,and wrestle with the Master of all Creation and win? But think,what is it exactly that keeps on holding us back like creatures unworthy of freedom tightly shackled,and braced by a leash made of iron chains?

    All the growling,and political roaring,have changed absolutely nothing;the beast that is anxious for prosperity,and progress still remains pinned down,unable to break free,or move even an inch. Something’s terribly wrong! lawlessness,and crime now prevail in Sierra Leone.

    And here’s how it all began – The Overthrow of Joseph Saidu Momoh by Captain Valentine Strasser,opened the doors of lawlessness,and total anarchy. Ever seen ants rushing out of ant hills,in countless numbers? Well that’s how the curses started bombarding this nation – War,Ebola,Mudslides,one after the other, because of the overthrow of legitimate Power.

    Listen,It is Pride,and arrogance that moves men to overthrow authority,and Power,nothing else. The feeling that others are inferior,and undeserving of the positions they are holding;that they should be forcibly removed through intimidation, threats, and violence Is demonic,and against the righteous ways of Almighty God.

    Here’s what Lucifer the first Celestial being ever,that attempted a Coup d’etat against Omnipotent heaven,that failed miserably, planned,thought,and devised in his heart.
    ” For thou hast said in thine heart,
    I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt
    my throne higher than the stars of God:
    I will sit also upon the mount of the
    Congregation,in the sides of the north ” (Isaiah 14:13)

    Inordinate ambition,pride,arrogance, and greed are diabolical attributes that all Coup-plotters share like the air they breathe;and just as Satan was expelled from highest heavens for attempting to overthrow Almighty God, so also are all those have followed in his footsteps like Strasser, Bio, JJ Rawlings, Saddam, Kotoka, Babangida, Fidel, Abel Fatah el Sisi, and the list goes on and on. All of these wretched men have never been able to accomplish anything,credible,and sustainable for their nations, while holding on to the reins of power,and never will.

    Why? Because to overthrow power is to be against the most cherished principles of Almighty God -STABILITY,ORDER,AND PEACE…Its no secret, Heaven resists the proud! Now hear this, the leader of this nation has been involved in overthrowing power twice in the past,and therefore is bound to face insurmountable challenges trying to accomplish anything tangible,and good. Prosperity? It just ain’t happening!

    The Universe,the laws of karma,and retribution, will never let such a man achieve success – You reap what you sow;You wouldn’t submit yourself to higher authority,so now also millions will never submit themselves to you. Remember how you dug pits for others, and entrapped them? Well,today many are also digging pits for you. Yep,its that’s simple: Karma – there will be hell to pay!

    Again, it seems the confusion that surrounds this government keeps on intensifying by the minute. Its quite easy,Fix the problems of acute poverty first,by creating jobs,and opportunities for people to be able to earn sustainable incomes,and crime will drastically reduce,on its own.

    Will a joint Police,and Military task force,promoting intimidation,brutality,and fear quench the thirsts of thousands,and make perpetual hunger,and starvation suddenly disappear?These people are really confused! And which truly democratic country have you ever seen having the military patrolling their streets,and recklessly brandishing loaded weapons?

    This is how it all starts – a trickle first,and then comes a gushing stream of blatant abuse of power,and outright suppression of individual liberties,and freedoms. Funny,a Coup plotter that once relished, promoted insubordination,and anarchy,now wants serenity, and order under his watch. The SLPP are stuck with a President whose hands are tied,and chained by the laws of Karma – a man whom fearsome ghosts of the past are after – night and day,ceaselessly knocking on the doors of State House…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  3. Indiscipline and lawlessness have plagued our nation going as far back as my memory can serve me; the situation is worse in the capital where the sit of government is established. Since the ousting of the NPRC junta regime, each successive democratically elected government has struggled to curtail this menace in our society. I remember visiting Freetown during the last days of pa Kabbah’s regime 2006, almost all petrol stations were manned by armed policemen. I was later informed that every late evening, armed robbers will raid the petrol stations to steal money accrued from the entire day’s sale.

    I am not really sure what was done, however, the armed robberies appeared to have subsided in the years that followed. I guess the security forces formulated a better approach to curtail such incidents. Throughout the 10yrs tenure of EBK whilst lawlessness and indiscipline pervaded every facet of our society, with the exception of petty thefts, there were rarely reports of a high degree of armed robberies. I might be totally wrong with this sentiment, so forumites are welcome to correct me or provide contrary evidence.

    I remember news circulating on social media with grim pictures of dead young men portrayed as armed robbers. One incident we were told happen at Wellington — Mayekineh to be specifics, another from waterloo, if my memory serves me well. Both of these occurred during the latter days of the APC regime.

    A few months after the SLPP took over governance, we heard about armed robberies taking place in the provinces – one was in Moyamba where a missionary or church premises was invaded by armed robbers; another somewhere else in the northern province – I don’t quite remember the details.

    In all these events, what cannot be overlooked is the time period or circumstances in which a sudden rise in these violent acts are observed. In the above paragraphs, I have mentioned 3 distinct time frames during which I am aware of an increase in armed robberies — last years of pa Kabbah’ regime, the last years of EBK’s regime, and now the early years of Bio’s regime. The common denominator in all these periods is that a high degree of economic hardship existed. Although the economic situation for the average citizen has remained unbearable across the board, these time periods I mentioned happened to stand out.

    The last days of pa Kabbah’s regime was rife with corruption so much so that local artists like Emerson composed popular songs, “borbor belleh” , “2fut arata” , while the artist group Jungle leaders composed the song “we dae gi dem notice”. EBK’s last days in office were no exception, corruption continued to be the order of the day despite songs like “ D sun hot”, “Kokobeh”, all by the great patriot, Emerson Bockarie. In our current dispensation, with the new regime in charge, we have a new coined popular saying “D grun dry”.

    So while the new security measures are a welcoming idea, the bigger and most sustainable approach is to fix the ailing economy.

  4. This growing number of crimes has its reason. I believe the main reason is the economic situation, poverty and unemployment, specially for the young people. This problem you can’t solve with force by police and military. Besides the free education, there has to be massive skills training programme where the trainees can earn small money.

    • reinhard wiehard, I asked you two questions.You conveniently evaded both. Let me take this opportunity to probe you again:

      Have you ever lived in Sierra Leone? What makes you think that president Bio’s initiative would lead to a dictatorship?

      Do you have a thorough grasp of the Sierra Leonean socio-economic and political situation?

      Additionally, do you understand what a free quality education program means to impoverished parents in Africa?

      Do you think that Sierra Leone is devoid of institutions for the training of middle manpower? Why does the country have polytechnics and technical schools?

      I will appreciate your answers to these very important questions. Thanks.

    • I agree with you Reinhard on the social causes of this problem, although that does not warrant people to engage in banditry. There is always two sides to the same story. Our leaders and politicians are giving a blind eye to what is a TIME BOMB. There are thousands of youths, men and women who are out there without jobs.

      The majority of them are part of what I regrettably call ‘The lost decade generation’. That I mean, children who lost their CHILDHOOD rights because of the war, and also the YOUTHS who lost everything. These groups could be exploited by rogue politicians in the future to cause mayhem.

      Adding petrol on the fire, hundreds if not thousands of young people graduate every year from universities all over the country. They finish their studies but remain unemployed forever and roam the streets throughout the country hopelessly. SAD.
      What for heaven’s sake is the government doing to solve this problem? Nothing in my view.

      It is a good idea as I said earlier for the establishment of this MAC-P. But, what has the government done or is going to do to address the route cause of this BANDITRY? Until the route cause is addressed, the MAC-P will remain patrolling the streets of our beloved country forever. Thank you very much Reinhard for you insight on this part of the debate. GOD BLESS YOU.

  5. reinhard wiechard, how can a brilliant initiative to fight crime in a country that is fighting so hard to restore economic sanity and progress be a step in introducing a dictatorship? Why are you in a habit of criticizing the government of Sierra Leone unfairly? Have you ever lived in Sierra Leone?

    • Dear Mr. Bakarr, since 1996 I often go to Sierra Leone and lived there for a longer time among the people – not in a hotel. I like your country especially the contryside. My wife is a Sierra Leonean; and so believe me I know a little bit of your country and the history.

      I have seen the poverty and have worked with people there in farming and building construction. I have been a teacher in skills training in Germany, and I have seen some schools and projects for skills training in Sierra Leone. Lots of them are
      NGCs. Sorry, but that is not enough. In my eyes, it needs a new whole system for vocatinal training, bringing together governmental and private enterprises, may be like the “dual system” in Germany.

      Finally, let me tell you that I like peace, and not so much the military.

    • Brilliant initiative. We should give credit to President Bio as head of the NSC for establishing this security apparatus to crack down on crime. It is something that has long overdue. Nevertheless, it is now in place. So, let’s accept it with open hearts and minds and work with President Bio and the SLPP government to make it a success.

      Furthermore, the government should make sure that disciplined and dedicated security personnel be part of this unit. The officers involved must be thoroughly SCREENED. Moreover, the population should be well informed and educated on this venture.
      Let’s hope that rogue POLITICS which is business as usual in Sierra Leone don’t take advantage of the established security apparatus to ARREST, INTIMIDATE and CRACK DOWN on OPPOSITION MEMBERS of parliament. If that happens, then it would be a recipe for chaos. Nobody wants that.

      Finally, let all of us welcome this long overdue security formation and pray that the government executes it in good faith.
      LONG LIVE the MAC-P and may GOD help the MAC-P executes its MISSION with FAIRNESS, HONESTY, INTEGRITY and DEDICATION. AMEN AND AMEN.

  6. “So, members of the public are also expected to provide timely information for the police to fulfil its core mandate in life and property protection,” the Media and Communications unit in the North East said last week.

    With reference to the statement above, kindly provide to the general public ample information and Emergency telephone number how citizens can reach the police swiftly in an event of urgency. Please request ALL media groups to help sensitize the public and Circulate the information by Social Media. The Emergency number should not carry any fee or charge to the caller.

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