Security forces in Sierra Leone open fire on protestors in Makeni

Sierra Leone telegraph: 18 July 2020:

There are disturbing reports coming from Makeni in the north of Sierra leone, where military personnel have fired teargas and live bullets at local people protesting against the government’s removal of an electricity power generator from the city to relocate to the town of Lungi. (WARNING – Some readers may find some of the images below disturbing.)

According to eyewitnesses, at least one person has been shot dead.

This shooting comes just weeks after the resident minister for the region – Abu Abu openly threatened to shoot anyone in the northern town of Lunsar where youths went on the rampage after a dispute with the local paramount chief.

The removal of electricity generators from one part of the country by the current government to meet the needs of other parts –  is becoming all too familiar and worrying.

One report this afternoon says: “Running battles continue in the Northern City of Makeni between irate youths protesting the removal of a 1MW Caterpillar generator by the Electricity Generating and Transmission Company (EGTC) and police firing gun shots and canister tear gas.

“It all started last night when news broke around the city that a team had arrived at the powerhouse to remove the said generator to Lungi. EGTC official said they had had prior consultations with local authorities regards the said movement of the generator.

“As the situation escalate there is report of some youths fired at with fire rounds. The ruling party office on Yiks Road in Makeni is reported damaged by irate youths.”

Another report says “As violent continues to spread in makeni, military support units from Daru, Pehbu in Kabala, Wilberforce and other areas have been called up to support those in Tecko who have been completely overwhelmed. The president wants law and order restored immediately.  The machine is still going to be moved because it is something that had been pre arranged.  A 24 hour curfew has been contemplated for makeni and full military patrol instructed.  Some arrests have been made.”

“There are serious disturbances in the city of Makeni. The genesis of this issues came from an electricity substitution issue.  Since Lungi is experiencing a shortage of electricity, the authorities says it will be wise to transfer a mini power plant from makeni to Lungi temporarily, since makeni is currently enjoying electricity from the Bumbuna hydro.  In response, the Makeni people refused – arguing that when the rains cease, Bumbuna output will drop and they will have no backup plant.  Riot broke out and a lot of vandalism.  The SLPP office is reportedly destroyed.  Military officers from Daru and Peehbu barracks in Kabala sent in and all hell has broken loose, ” says another report.

A report believed to be from the ministry of energy reads:

“The Ministry of Energy is perturbed by reports of violent skirmishes in Makeni over an attempt by authorities to relocate a standby 1.65MW Caterpillar engine from Makeni to Lungi for the supply of electricity to Lungi. The Ministry of Energy roundly condemns this unlawful behavior from some ill-motivated youths in Makeni.

“The ministry wishes to make it abundantly clear that Lungi is currently in dire need of electricity ,and with the resumption of flight operations at anytime from now,there would be more compelling need for electricity.The relocation of the standby thermal plant  from Makeni to Lungi is therefore only a stop-gap measure for Lungi until such a time when the 3X2 MW Man engines at Lungi were fully repaired.

“The ministry would further  like to assure all that Government has made concrete arrangements for the quick repairs of the engines, and with the Airport resuming operations ,the expert engineers and the necessary spare parts would arrive in the country for work to start  .

“The ministry states for the avoidance of doubts that it held consultative meetings with stakeholders in Makeni,including but not limited to the Mayor and her Deputy, the Provincial Secretary North, Representatives of the AIG , Media Groups and Civil Society Groups. The issue of the relocation of the thermal plant was clearly presented and discussed in those stakeholders’ meetings . Government further assured all the stakeholders that despite the relocation ,Makeni would continue to enjoy uninterrupted supply of power from the Shield Wire Arrangement along the 161kv Line from the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Station.

“In view of the above , the ministry would like to state its lawful determination to relocate the thermal plant to Lungi in line with the outcome of a series of consultations ,while also assuring the people of Makeni of its commitment to providing uninterrupted power supply for the city .

“Once more, the ministry totally condemns the violent protests that erupted in the town and urge the security apparatus to take all necessary steps to restore order, to deal with those responsible for the illegal protests within the confines of the law and to protect state property.”

Calling for peace in Makeni, Mahmud Tim Kargbo – a social policy commentator said:  “I have always had the utmost respect for our law enforcement team, and am asking them to be professional enough in protecting lives and property in the current unrest in Makeni.

“They’re trained diligently to understand how, when and where to use force. Current shocking tragedy of social media images showing dead bodies and injuries inflicted against civilians clearly crossed that line.

“It is not unusual to face disruption from unemployed and bitter youth which can occur for many reasons, but we expect our law enforcement team to handle the situation professionally. We know our law enforcement forces have comprehensive plans in response to violence coming from irate youth across their network that cover contingencies – including youth that  want to take the law into their own hands, and how to use proportionate force to enforce peace in a specific town, area, district, or region where such youth overstep the mark. I consider this planning part of our law enforcement team’s core operating model.

“In conclusion, I am also calling on the youth to be law abiding and avoid all situations that will make them come in brush with the law. Our law enforcement team must manage their response to the present unrest in Makeni and at all cost minimise negative impact on property and life.”

27 Comments

  1. Many thanks to my brother from another mother,the ‘Illustrious’ Mr Alimamy Turay and our big brother Abdul Thomas for their heartfelt timely response that just might have saved someone from being incinerated to splinters and ashes like fiercely burning wood on this glorious forum.(lol)When a roaring merciless Lion is confronted by a wimpy whiskerless cat it hastily zips away, already fully aware of the feeling of disgust it may have to experience after tainting its majestic claws with the rancid putrid,sickening entrails of its faint-hearted prey.Are you answered SLPP Amos?

  2. Where is the lifetime chairman of the APC party? Is he still living in Makeni City? Fake News from the Serial “Mammy Cusser” which is full of incitement has a stronghold in our beloved country as was evident in Lunsar, Tombo, and around the nation. May the Almighty continue to guide our youths that are used as collateral and the pawns in this political chess game, while most of the top politicians and their families are living in their bunkers, and most of us hiding behind our computers are not helping the situation.

    The government has the responsibility to maintain law and order and they have to do whatever it takes to restore peace. May the Almighty continue to bless Mama Salone.

  3. Its obvious that the paopa boys and girls running our mismanagement could have averted all this with proper planning and forward thinking. Its no magic to conclude that most had spent the lock-down period massaging their new SUVs, discussing who will attend the next donor conference and what could each take-away from resources under their control. As important as the airport is, was there any forwarding planning about its needs. Had Bio done his assignment (the reason he’s being lavishly paid) the Makeni incident would have not occurred.

    A good leader reads the political temperature to avert or forestall such incidences. Wrong that the youths took the law into their hands, very wrong, but paopas communication strategy is extremely poor and its leader is probably the most laid-back president of my generation. Was the generator relocation a sporadic decision or a well thoughtout plan? When did the chief minister know about Lungi’s electricity need? And who knew what about the lungi electricity need and when? These guys think speaking grammar is all what we need, but they’re surely clueless about governance.

  4. I don’t need to read the entire article or watch the accompanying video to categorically declare that the security of our nation is sorely being tested. I don’t know how long it will stretch before it snaps. But there’s one man who can put an end to all the violence: President Julius Maada Bio. He has the levers of power in his hand. Why does he refuse to use them, especially considering the fact that all those associated with the violence have been linked to his SLPP party? There was “arata “, who has gone quiet lately. In Kono, Mamadi Baghdad surfaced at the funeral for the uncle of former Vice President Sam Summana; he couldn’t think of a better time. And now we have Makani. This time our recognised security forces were involved, causing a loss of lives. The most frightening thing about it is the possibility that it may well be described as a regional confrontation. This is how civil conflicts commence and slip out of control. Have we already forgotten the rebel war so soon?

    A reminder: Undoubtedly those killed in Makeni didn’t involve a single son of the top politicians, it’s about time for ordinary people to come to their senses and stop staking their lives for our obnoxious politicians. If they don’t like something they should bite their lips and bide their time till the next election to express their anger through the ballot box.

    For as long as we keep having either APC or SLPP in power we shall never see complete peace in our country. With all the violence that is now taking place, who can honestly and confidently tell me that a future APC government won’t be out for unmitigated revenge? Only if we bench both of them can we be assured of peace. We the voters are like the football manager who fields the same unproductive team all the time and we mourn and moan when they lose. Where’s our intelligence?

  5. Why are people so lawless? Do you have to die because of politics? Though SAD! yet the APC cabals should be held responsible for inciting violence and lawlessness in the country. What is wrong if authorities want to relocate generator to boost electricity at the airport which is the gateway to the country? The same politicians will want to use this event for political score….SO SAD!!

    • Why couldn’t authorities build a new power source for the Lungi Airport and just leave the Makeni generator where it was?

  6. Africa is about to add the 11th top dictator and war Lord to its list. Let the world judge who the next to be added on that list is. Surprisingly, they all have the same facial composition if you use facial graphics to scan their faces. There is one current President who has all the credentials to be added to that list. Do the computer graphics and you get the answer. Click on the link below and read.
    https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/africas-top-10-dictators-and-warlords-body-count-included/
    Interesting EH?
    God bless and protect Makeni. TBC.

  7. This is total incompetency by this current administration! I am perturbed,dismayed shocked and disappointed to say the least over the actions of this Bio administration.Seriousky though seriously?..So is this the new direction our people were promised? An opposition stronghold was being put underseige like this? And have its indigenes butchered to death in this manner for a generator? When not too long ago, millions of dollars were spent on mere vehicles. Is this going to be the new norm now in Sierra Leone that,every day people have to wake up to losing a loved one all under the name of political insanity?…Where is the love for humanity? Rule of law where art thou?

    Mr president take note. For your actions are surely going to be questioned after you have left office and be well prepared to submit your answers to international criminal court. For in this new age no leadership is too big or small to face justice.If you still havent got it yet,well asked the likes of Jameh, Gbagbo, Gadaffi, Taylor…

  8. Gentlemen – Barbarism has reared its ugly head once again;The SLPP is on the rampage waging WAR,using gruesome tactics and methods of mindless savagery to commit the most unspeakable,horrendous atrocities against unarmed innocent citizens of Sierra Leone.Is this how a government ‘For the People,and by the People,’sets about getting things done? Are there no other amicable sensible ways of acquiring another Caterpillar generator without stepping on the toes of aggrieved citizens?Seriously,this clearly is not about a generator but a calculated attempt by a criminal government to stoke and fan the fires of discord,anarchy and mayhem in Makeni a formidable stronghold of the opposition APC.

    Heads up,everyone!They are testing the waters,if you allow them to come there and easily remove a generator,without any form of protest,stand idle as they forcibly wrench away a resourceful equipment that is badly needed by the residents of Makeni,surely next time they will be coming full throttle for your gallant leaders – BIG FISH beware!You are always on the minds of the notorious SLPP.Again is this what a New direction actually looks like?

    An inept pathetic government with hands profusely stained with the blood of the innocent? Answer – why didn’t the trespassing disruptive SLPP, respectfully consult with community leaders in Makeni in advance and look for cordial and friendly ways to have the generator quickly removed without ruffling any feathers? And again,why didnt they take some form of temporary replacement to appease the angry youths, and disgruntled residents? This just shows how shockingly INCOMPETENT they really are: Sad but true – they are nothing but book cramming PHD losers with empty heads that lack common sense.

    • This poster is uneducated and very very stupid. Are you insane or what? How can lawless youths takes the law into their hands so foolishly,mind you no one is above the law not to talk about those worthless and senseless youths that violated it. I am in support of both the police force and the army force including our government, yes let the law takes it cause against who so ever go against it. You senseless poster you really need to know better, fool.

    • Amos Ansumana, you are the stupid and uneducated animal. People like you are so intoxicated with power in such a way that you have lost your rationality and morality. No wonder CANNIBALISM still exists in your midst. Let’s face it, if you guys have the guts to eat monkeys and chimpanzees, what will stop you from eating people?

      Every time, people disappear within your primitive dwellings without trace. Human sacrifice and eating people is a way of life for these backward idiots. Your tribal and canibalistic chiefs will face the ICC in the not too distant future. That’s for sure.

    • It is due to sheer frustration, Mr Thomas. I hope you will give me the benefit of the doubt on this one. Thanks.

  9. Is this riot planned and pre-meditated by the current enemies of progress – cabals of the APC party at their stronghold base in Makeni to distabilise the hard work of the current SLPP party govt who are trying to restore the comatosed, battered economy they inherited from the previous corrupt/tribalistic/regionalistic APC party.

    • They could use some of the covied19 money to buy a generator instead of luxury cars. Shameful. Why spill blood in front of the world for a generator.

    • Asking Mee Mr Senesie Junior Boima? Ask the Bio SLPP officials who attempted to unleash terror in Kono. The Bio SLPP is the only political party in the world that has an official that has a terrorist name. Maybe, it will be a good idea if the U.S. carry out some investigation. They failed in Kono to unleash terror and attempted to assassinate Chief Sam Sumana, now, they alighted in Makeni on their way from KONO trying to attack EBK, using their fake strategy of taking or borrowing a generator. God bless EBK, the APC and the people of Makeni. TBC.

  10. What a traumatic heartbreaking sight!Trickling streams of blood flowing everywhere just because the Criminal SLPP wants to prove they are now in control,holding on to the reins of power;” I will have BLOOD they say.BLOOD will have BLOOD;Stones have been known to move and Trees to speak;”(William Shakespeare)Indeed very soon trees will begin to speak of gruesome barbarisms going on in Sierra leone,and stones will start shifting and changing their positions out of fear.But let this Criminal cabal be reminded that – BLOOD WILL HAVE BLOOD – KARMA – what goes around surely comes around…as you sow so also shall you surely reap….Enough said !

  11. Although, I am very busy with some polling work, I have time to speak against barbarity and gross human rights violations in Sierra Leone under the Bio SLPP. A similar attempt was made in Kono. The population did not accept it. Telling the people of KONO DISTRICT to lend their generator to BO. What a Sh** and disrespect to the people of KONO.

    Now they have brought the same idea to the people of Makeni to enable them continue their barbaric and gross human rights violations spree on the people of Sierra Leone. God help the injured. After attacking Chief Sam Sumana, they alighted in Makeni from KONO to attack the people of Makeni. TBC.

  12. When you hear the phrase – the leopard will never shed its spot, look no further at events that are unfolding in Makeni. This is Pademba road prison riots all over again. Where unarmed and in vast majority of cases, unemployed youths are faced with a trigger happy members of the Sierra Leone Armed forces, as opposed to the civilian Police officers that are supposedly trained to police this sort of events. Surely, when the government decided to embark on a spending spree on spanking new SUVs, no one in the cabinet raised an objection and suggested maybe first they should either repair the power generator in Lungi, in Portloko District. Lets be honest that should have been government priority.

    I have led a students demonstration in Makeni, I know what it feels like to be confronted, in our case by a brutish police force, and the cuban trained notorious SSD unit. Knowing people in Makeni, they are not easily cowed by cowards. This Bio government is drawning in the blood of ordinary youngsters. Their only crime is to raise their concerns because they want to keep what rightly belongs to them. During our own riots, it was the Hon. Musa Kabbia the speaker of Parliament that Momoh sent to appease us, and promised to pay teachers’ salaries.

    There is no such politician amongst this bunch of inept politicians,putting our country’s security at risk. So for those misfits that like to pigeon hole incidents like this as an SLPP / APC thing, should ask themselves – what if that poor youth drenched in his own blood is your family member? Momoh’s home town was in Binkolo, just outside Makeni. So when Makeni people rise up, they are only fighting for what belongs to them. May the soul of the dead rest in peace. May God bless the people of Makeni. We want peace in our country.

    • Indeed. The people of KONO, FREETOWN and MAKENI are not easily cowed by old, greedy, looser and grumpy adults Bio SLPP cowards. Just imagine the Military doing the job of IG Sovula’s men. What a disastrous Bio SLPP leadership failure. God bless Mr Abraham Amadu Jalloh. Your name reminds me of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States – “issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy in 1863”.

      Sierra Leone under President Bio is ruling with the idea of the dark ages and doing the opposite. Let him learn from wise men like the 16th President of the United States. The US must investigate the Bio SLPP official proud of having a terrorist name “holding a knife publicly in Kono, attempting to assassinate Chief Sam Sumana”. TBC.

  13. Sad!! Sad!! Indeed sad!! These horrific scenes with citizens bathed in blood as a result of heavy handedness and gunshots from the security forces have become all too familiar within the past 2years. Our mostly idle security personnel, majority of whom have never faced an enemy in a war environment, seem to be trigger happy to mow down youths armed with mere stones and sticks whenever skirmishes take place. I just don’t understand why non-lethal riotous control mechanisms are hardly used. Didn’t our government, both past and present, invest heavily in riotous control training as well as the procurement of a host of riotous control security paraphernalia? Why are our security forces using live bullets to control riots to date?

    This regime will definitely go down in history as the most turbulent and repressive, with most atrocities committed ever against our citizens. When you factor in the over 40 citizens killed during the recent pademba prison riots, and now adding this current happening in Makeni, none of our democratic regimes in the past even come close. Now when it comes to the genesis of this riot, I really don’t understand why the regime is bent on destabilizing opposition strongholds. Why even attempt to take away standby generators relied on by these cities for other locations of the country?

    Two years ago, the people of Koidu town had to fight a similar approach by this regime, thankfully nobody was killed. I mean out of all the standby generators around the nation, why choose the one in Makeni, an opposition stronghold? It’s really reprehensible by all practical purpose. The extremists within the PAOPA regime are always looking for ways to stoke fear and inflict mayhem on opposition members. The world is watching and definitely taking stock.

    • They can kill people, but they can’t kill the spirit of people standing up for their rigths against oppression, and dictatorship . This will go down in our history as one of the darkest moments in the history of our country. Why in the world are these rag tag politicians hell bent on killing our youth’s and by extention killing future leaders of our country? It is indeed a sad day for every peace loving Sierra Leonean. Especially for the poor families that will endure the loss of their loved ones for the rest of their lives with no one to hold in to account.

      This Bio government is sowing the seeds of hate in our communities, all in the name of what? Are these bunch of nobodies, so intoxicated with power and money, that they are ready to put our hard won peace on the line, just to maintain power at all cost? Our country is battling two types of pandemic, the Bio government pandemic and covid19 pandemic. These two virus seem to be competing for a podium finish. Which will kill most Sierra Leoneans? May the souls of these youths rest in peace. May God bless our Republic of Sierra Leone.

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