Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 August 2022:
The government and police of Sierra Leone have made themselves into a ridiculous laughingstock, after a “wanted list” of suspected, so called “terrorists” – published by the government last week, went viral for all the wrong reasons.
The list contains names and photos of people the government says not only took part in the Bloody Wednesday Street protest against rising costs of living, but according to President Bio – some of the protesters whom he refers to as terrorists, were carrying guns. Where is the evidence?
President Bio’s spokesman – Yusuf Keketoma Sandi said on Twitter two days ago: “These were groups of marauding gangs. Some of them carrying weapons. We have videos of them going to police station to steal bikes. That is not a cost-of-living protest.”
But only one photo among the dozens on the list, was shown by the government to be carrying a gun. And shockingly, that individual turned out to be no other than a deceased Nigerian pop artist, known as Dagrin, who died in 2010 in Nigeria.
Was the President, the police, and their communications team very desperate to paint the protesters as terrorists to the extent of photoshopping the evidence?
No matter the government’s intention, Nigerians across the world are not amused, as the Nigerian satirist and commentator – Pararan on his mock news explains:
Speaking on Aljazeera last week, President Bio strenously insisted that the protests had nothing to do with rising costs of living, but a planned insurrection by terrorists, aimed at overthrowing his government whilst he was on holiday in London with his family.
So far, only supporters of the government and ruling SLPP party operatives have bought into this propaganda, aimed at deflecting the attention of the people and the international community away from the serious issues facing the country, including – human rights abuse, extra-judicial killings, poor governance, corruption and poor leadership.
No independent organisation inside or outside of Sierra Leone has described the protesters as terrorists or insurrectionists as President Bio would like the world to believe, which has now left the President’s global credibility seriously damaged and in tatters. Sierra Leone deserves better leadership.
This is what President Bio told Aljazeera: