Makeni massacre will not be forgotten – president Bio must be held accountable

Concerned Sierra Leoneans: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 5 August 2020:

We are immensely despondent to witness the premeditated killings by the Sierra Leone security forces of unarmed and innocent youths, who staged a peaceful protest against the removal of their electricity asset that belongs to the Municipality of Makeni on the 17/07/20 and 18/07/20.

It was an utter and deliberate contravention of Articles 7 and 8 of Rome Statue, Articles: 1; 4 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and People’s rights and Article 2 of the Commonwealth Charter.

This malicious act to murder innocent youths with assault rifles made for military warfare was triggered by the outrageous speech made by HE President Maada Bio that set the stage for excessive lethal force against peaceful civilians when he addressed the nation on 8th May 2020.

We want to take this opportunity to convey our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of all those who sadly lost their lives.

The President promised to stifle all democratic principles and hit harder against citizens who do not share his militarised democracy and members of the main Opposition party.

The President’s Resident Minister North Abu Abu responded to his abhorrent speech by viciously threatened the people in the North especially Makeni and Tonkolili that “he will make sure, the parents of young boys and girls who stand in his way wear black clothing to mourn their children”.

Within few months of the Resident Minister’s threat, the parents of Makeni are currently wearing black clothing and mourning their children butchered in broad daylight by security forces who were trained to protect the lives and properties of citizens under the command and control of His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio and his henchmen hired to orchestrate these attacks and slaughtered innocent Sierra Leoneans.

Furthermore, 51 indigenes from Makeni are being detained without charge, contravening the legally prescribed detention period, and denied the right to bail. Notwithstanding, unconfirmed source has informed us that few have been released.

We unequivocally condemn this appalling and illegal act and urge the Government of President Julius Maada Bio to respect their human rights by releasing them immediately.

Concerned Sierra Leoneans in the Diaspora in no uncertain terms condemns the excessive use of lethal force, gross destruction and horrendous tragedy of young innocent lives that has no place in a genuine democracy.

Full and impartial investigation must be launched to determine the criminal liability of the security forces, chain of command and the rules of engagement and strategies of policing peaceful protest in Sierra Leone.

It is prevalent that, the right to a peaceful protest is enshrined in our laws S.26 of Sierra Leone Constitution 1991. The Government of Sierra Leone must bear in mind that, our democratic credentials are judged by upholding the principles of this Constitution consistently.

Under the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court and the principle of complementarity, if a state refused to prosecute or embark on an investigation that is not shrouded in a black box of lies or whitewashed of crimes against humanity it will trigger an intervention and preliminary investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The ICC will minimise the state choice to cherry pick it prosecuting capacity under the principle of complementarity to hold those who commit widespread or systematic attacks against civilian population like the premeditated attack in Makeni accountable no matter how long it takes.

In concluding, in pursuant to International law and jurisprudence on command and control by superiority, a Head of State or superior will be held responsible if he/she fails to discharge their duties as superiors either by deliberately failing to perform them or by culpably or wilfully disregarding them.

International Criminal Law imposes liability for omissions upon a superior a duty to prevent crimes which he/she knows or has reason to know had been committed, by subordinates over whom he/she has effective control.

Signed: Concerned Sierra Leoneans

C.C:

  1. First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK
  2. Minister for Africa, UK
  3. Secretary of State for International Development, UK
  4. UN Secretary General
  5. Amnesty International, UK
  6. ECOWAS President
  7. UK High Commissioner, Sierra Leone
  8. US Ambassador, Sierra Leone
  9. African Union
  10. US State Department
  11. Her Majesty Opposition Party leader
  12. Chairman of the Conservation Party
  13. Commonwealth Secretariat
  14. Speaker of the House of Commons
  15. President of the UK Supreme Court
  16. European Union
  17. Harriet Harman, Chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee, UK Parliament
  18. Neil Coyle MP
  19. Leaders of the Liberal Democrats
  20. First Minister of Scotland
  21. First Minister of Wales
  22. First Minister of Northern Ireland
  23. Prime Minister of Norway
  24. Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway
  25. Minister of International Development, Norway

Contacts: Twitter:@CLeoneans

Email:concernedsierraleoneans@yahoo.com

Watch another concerned Sierra Leonean – Ibrahim Fofanah speaking about the Makeni massacre here:

https://www.facebook.com/IGFornah/videos/645102776361382/?sfnsn=scwspwa&extid=ElhXwaOwsDS37VGy&d=w&vh=e

12 Comments

  1. The incident in Makeni was precipitated by people who have only their own selfish interests at heart. Why should Makeni have two standby generators and the rest of the other regions have none? The political heads in Makeni deliberately syphoned Government coffers and ensured that they protect their loot. The people of Makeni are only being used whilst their own children and families are in the West enjoying the vast amount of stolen gain during the past 8 years of the APC regime.

  2. Lives are worth more than anything. Unfortunately, the role of the law enforcement put both lives and property in the same category. The police acts state thus that the role of the police is:
    1. to protect lives and properties
    2. prevention of crimes
    3. Apprehension and prosecution of offenders.
    Why did the Drafts Man put lives and properties in the same category? It is because damages such as arson to properties like dwelling, business or office building can lead to death.

    The Makeni incident is complex. The contractors sent to transport the machine decided to do the removal in the night, when the streets in Makeni were deserted and people were supposed to be asleep. Why the midnight removal?
    If the stakeholders in Makeni were informed about this operation, why did they in turn fail to educate their subjects?
    Who tipped the youth including a fifteen years old boy to come out at night to thwart the operation even when when the removal of the machine had no negative effect on the enjoyment of electricity supply of the Makeni town ship?
    And most importantly, why did some youths proceed to the ruling party rented building and set it ablaze when the machine to be removed was not in the same location?

    Is it true as per independent reports that the police only started using lethal weapons after the arson and apparent wounding of their colleagues by the stone throwing and cutlass carrying youths? Do many commenting here know that few months before this incident, policemen who went to effect an arrest in neighbouring Tonkolili district where attacked and one of them was macheted to death? Yet, an incident like this never made it to the “glorious online news outlets”?
    Our society did not learn anything from the war years. And until we do as a nation, even prophets of old would fall to expunge us from our current quagmire.

  3. Regarding this vexing issue I want to ask the following questions:

    Who owns the Genset in question? Govt or private individuals? If it is government as it is a public secret that they were installed by late Pa Kabbah’s government, do individuals citizens have the right to violently confront it’s relocation to other parts of SL?

    Were there any consultations between government and the local stakeholders for the relocation?

    Did mischievous miscreants including Adebayor, Ibrahim and others incite those unsuspecting youths to do all they can to block the transfer? Yes. In fact Adebayor misinformed them that the Genset was being transferred to Bo via a popular WhatsApp audio.

    Did the Mayor and others fail to sensitize the residents of Makeni about the pending transfer? No. So what right did those youths have to violently confront government on the relocation of the property that belongs to the government?

  4. Yayah,I am very downcasted with this unpopular comment of you. This comment is very unpatriotic and it shows that it is very prejudicial too. Meaning you support the killings based on your assumed reasons, that the protestors used stones and Sticks against the security forces. I have a question for you. Are there no rubber bullets and tear gas to dispatch the crowds by the security officers?

    Is it bad to call off the security forces at the time the youths protested and find a tangible way to calm down the youths in the following days? Is killing the right solution to the problem? The above questions were not looked into because the security officers have malice or grudge against the youths of Makeni and it was glaringly proven by the statement Abu Abu made and the president too. So the security officers killed in pursuant of the previous comments made. This country is politically and tribally divided, so the best person to unite us is the president!!!!

    • Sometimes we cast our blame on someone else but my belief is, God Almighty did not allow any human being or devil, to take an innocent life unlawfully, but at the same time the divine God gave a warning also not to endanger our lives as well. Some of the books that I have read, it says that “taking one innocent life seems like if you have the whole human live on earth”. Yes of course fighting for your right is necessary but, if that will endanger your life, stay away do not make a bad judgement against yourself, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Yes indeed we all blamed the minister, Mr. Abu Abu for his bad tongue commenting about(killing); maybe he was not serious just to scare people, but now today they are using that against him. We have to be careful what we say and what we do. Also let some of us stop accusing president Bio in some of these evil acts. Listen, watch and do some research to see what’s going on around the world today!. Where is (DEMOCRACY?)USA, Africa, Latin America and so on, tell me… do you think that everyone that is contributing on this noble platform is using their real name or Identity?.

      No, the country is not divided but the people are. The time EBK and APC leadership was in power everything was fine, and the country wasn’t divided, why? If I was part of this administration and have influence on the President, Minister Abu Abu won’t be reinstalling back to his previous position, to set up an example. I personally do not encourage violence, because of the innocent people suffered the consequence. I believe the president won’t be happy with this kind of image against his government. The whole world is watching our after 11 years civil disaster war. Thanks

  5. One of the factors that led to the consequent defeat of the APC in the 2018 elections was the hostile nature of the press against the party. Most of the various news outlets were accusing the APC of swindling the country’s resources and it was not surprising that the elections were contested on the backdrop of corruption. This euphoria even led to the waste of taxpayers money in establishing an exclusive and somewhat fruitless Commission of Inquiry against the outgoing APC administration. In actual fact, the APC did not lose the elections, but local and international forces deceitfully combined to make the ill-fated defeat of the APC became a reality. Today, what the present SLPP government have squandered in a period of 2 years in office, is equivalent to, if not more than, what was allegedly misappropriated by the APC during their 10 years tenure.

    Another factor was the consistent blackmailing of the former President, Earnest Bai Koroma, as a dictator. Though, after evaluating the current systematic atrocities in the country – including the massacre of over 40 inmates at Pademba Road prison; the killing of youths in Lunsar, Mile 91, Tonko Limba and Tombo; and the recent massacre of innocent youths in Makeni – if the former President was professed as a dictator, then the current President, Julius Maada Bio, is not only a dictator but has proved to be a moralless and sadistic killer as well. Furthermore, it is beyond anyone’s rationale to accommodate the intransigence of Maada Bio in conducting an independent inquiry to investigate the motivation of this predetermined barbarity. The question is: are the countries and institutions that aided and abetted this situation going to sit down and see this killing maniac get away with mass murder?

    Moreover, the country’s development programme has been virtually brought to a standstill – Mamamah International Airport project, Bumbuna (phaphase II) Hydro Electric Power Plant, and a host of other strategic development projects could have been up and running if Maada Bio had not been imposed on the people. What could have been seen as a progressive period for the country has been transformed into retrogression. A lot of forward thinking Media Houses should be asking themselves, “what have we done … have we MISLED the gullible people of Sierra Leone from the frying pan into the fire?” It is imperative that Maada Bio is held accountable. International Criminal Court (ICC) are you taking stock of events in Sierra Leone?

  6. You will harvest what you sow. That is however long it takes. Good governance is not about taking control of people’s lives and oppressing them, but the art of improving their living standards. Combining the army and the police institutions as instruments of state oppression, render them ineffective constitutionally, as serving the national interest.

    Under this government, these two institutions of state have been politicised and merged into one. You never use to see the RSLAF and SLP carrying joint civilian operations. Riots are for the police not the army. The Army can only be called upon, if the police have lost control. And it should only happen on rare occasions. They are now playing in the same political team under the Bio government.

    Politically and socially, it is not only dangerous, but it plays into the hands of tribalistic elements of the main political parties in our country, that have a different agenda. And ,unfortunately, are yet to learn a single lesson from our eleven years of brutal civil war. Just to remind this president and his acolytes, it took more than thirty years before president Stevens’ misguided and brutal policies to reach its maturity. Foday Sankoh and Sam Bokari alias MOSQUITO used that platform of victim hood to fully activate the RUF wars in which fifty thousand or more people lost their lives and dignity. The army should go back to their barracks. Leave the SLP to police the streets. May God bless Sierra Leone.

  7. Gentlemen – a million thanks for your candid heartfelt comments; its truly refreshing to my ears and soul to hear sincerity every now and then on this glorious forum untainted by outright cowardly hypocrisy. The facts about the Massacre of the Innocent being discussed here today remain lucid and vividly clear to all prudent thinking minds – The New Directions political brigantine sea vessel overcrowded with vagabonds and pirates,that are always desperately in pursuit of innocent unharmed citizens were strictly commanded by the Captain of their ship,President Bio to run over,gun down unarmed aggrieved citizens who were only anxious to have their harmless patriotic voices heard.

    One thing is true the rest is lies even though time flies – This President has already committed the worst imaginable crimes known to mankind,and therefore he has earned himself a little warm and cozy cell in the Hague;Bravo!Folks,One thing remains true and the rest is lies,if someone dies in Sierra Leone today,forget the lies,you can bet your lives on it,that the cries of anguish were not caused by Covid19 but wickedly inflicted by the criminal SLPP.

  8. I am aware that I can write this commentary from a safe distance, because I have nothing to fear in my country, but I feel for the people of Sierra Leone. In the last 4 years I travelled to Sierra Leone several times, because my wife lives there with her family. I like this country and I like the people who live here. Except for two unpleasant encounters with soldiers in Makeni. I have only good memories of the people with whom I had much or little contact. When I am not in Sierra Leone, I live in a country in Europe where I can speak my mind publicly and I am not threatened with death; I am not arrested, not persecuted and I have no disadvantages to fear. I would like all this for the people of Sierra Leone as well.

    The events in Sierra Leone have been following me for months and I am well informed by my friend and the Sierra Leone Telegraph. Never, never would I have thought that after this terrible civil war such cruel outbreaks of violence would occur again. All the people with whom I have spoken about this terrible, cruel time were of the opinion that there would never again be such terrible deeds in this so beautiful, but oppressed and tormented country. They were mistaken, I was mistaken, because I too believed it.

    My plan was to go back to my second home this year, I hesitate, I have to think about it. So terrible violence, murdered young men and Covid 19, and perhaps repression after this comment – if it gets printed. I don’t know yet, but not being able to go back to my family would hit me very hard. If this comment were to be published in a Turkish newspaper, if I were to travel to Turkey, I would probably be arrested. Maybe I should not travel after all? Am I putting my family in danger? And please, excuse my poor English.

    • All you have said, speaking your mind publicly or the rest of the stuff you have said are being done under the Democratic tenets or principles of that country. Have you ever went off your mind putting on undemocratic behaviours? You must be crazy! When last do you remember attacking security forces with weapons or simply put stones? Or beating up your wife ,or child? You must be insane! Democracy has it principles upon which a country is governed. When once you violate those principles the law will take its course and always feel the law is undemocratic.

      I do not support the use of lethal weapons by the security forces on civilians neither civilians using weapons such as stones or sticks against security forces. But the truth is, civilians should always resort to peaceful demonstrations rather than violent ones.

      You are sitting there talking bla bla bla… okay, it’s a natural phenomenon that wherever there is a clash between two opposing groups, there are always casualties. Don’t make us as if we know nothing about those countries that pretend to be Democratic. Check the Democratic records of the UK, US, France etc. The results may surprise you.

  9. I am very disappointed in the way that this president is using his power especially as it is the very same people who voted him in to power that have lost their lives by someone that they trusted would help keep the peice in Sierra Leone. There is no way you will encourage tourism in your country, for your way of leadership is to entice violence and hostility. The World has its eyes on you – you can be sure of that fact.

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