Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 August 2022:
Sierra Leone’s Inspector General of Police – William Fayia Sellu, last night confirmed the death of APC social media strongman – Evangelist Samson (Photo above), whose real name was corrected in a statement believed to have come from the police, as Hassan S. Dumbuya.
According to the statement, “…when Security forces acting on intelligence on the 14 of August 2022 stormed a place where ex-combatants had assembled & poised to make further attacks, they took to their heels. While they were being pursued by the security forces, another group from a makeshift structure at Station Road in Makeni opened fire on them. During the crossfire, one Hassan S. Dumbuya aka Evangelist Samson was killed, and four others were arrested.”
The main opposition APC of which Evangelist was a vocal, un-official social media spokesman, continue to remain quiet about the killing of Evangelist Samson.
But speaking to the BBC World Service last week, Interim Chairman of the APC – Peter Conteh accepted that some elements within the APC were involved in the Bloody Wednesday demonstration, where dozens of people were killed, including police officers.
This is the full statement published by the police yesterday:
“The Sierra Leone Police wishes to inform the general public that following the insurrection by misguided individuals on the 10th of August 2022 resulting in destruction of properties and loss of lives in the affected areas, the security forces have been conducting raids in hideouts for perpetrators of the said insurrection.
“Targeted areas in Freetown were successfully raided and suspects arrested were handed over to the Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters at Pademba Road in Freetown for thorough investigations.
“In order to prevent any other insurrection, similar raids were extended to towns and cities in the provinces including Makeni, Magburaka and Kamakwie.
“Acting on intelligence, the security forces were successful in their raids of several hideouts in Makeni where suspects arrested were handed over to the Police for investigations. However, when Security forces acting on intelligence on the 14 of August 2022 stormed a place where ex-combatants had assembled & poised to make further attacks, they took to their heels. While they were being pursued by the security forces, another group from a makeshift structure at Station Road in Makeni opened fire on them.
“During the crossfire, one Hassan S. Dumbuya aka Evangelist Samson was killed and four others were arrested. Those arrested are now helping the Police with investigation. One (1) light sub machine gun 9x26mm was found at the scene of the incident (Makeshift structure).
“The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) is hereby ordering all those declared wanted to surrender to the nearest Police Station or Post. The SLP is also appealing to the general public to give the Police any useful information that can lead to the arrest of those perpetrators who are now at large.
“While the security forces will continue to pursue the perpetrators of the insurrection for them to be investigated and prosecuted in court the general public is assured of their safety and security.
“Signed: William Fayia Sellu, Inspector General of Police.”
Yesterday, the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) in Sierra Leone, expressed deep concern over the loss of lives in the country as a result of what ought to have been a legitimate, peaceful street protest; and asked – “Was the use of lethal force by the police justified?”
This is what its Executive Director – Abdul Fatoma said in a CHRDI statement sent to the Sierra Leone Telegraph:
The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) would like to voice its concern and displeasure over the recent spate of violent encounters between the police and some citizens in several parts of the country and the capital Freetown.
A number of people and numerous police officers are thought to have been hurt during the mass demonstration, according to readily available accounts. May the souls of the deceased police officers and civilians rest in peace. CHRDI is deeply concerned about these deaths, which could and should have been avoided.
We want to remind the security services that everyone in Sierra Leone has the right to assemble under the country’s constitution and other international human rights legislation. Therefore, any illegal action by the security actors thereupon is neither acceptable nor justifiable in a democratic society.
A very concerning development for the nation’s cohesion and peace is the ease with which security personnel in Sierra Leone utilised live ammunition to disperse demonstrators in the streets of the capital city and other areas of the country.
Was the use of lethal force by the police justified? This is a poignant question that needs to be asked even as the nation deals with the fallout from this despicable incident.
We do, however, recognise that the police must use force when required to uphold the law. Such a mandate carries responsibility.
In light of the abovementioned issues, CHRDI believes it is appropriate to make the following observations: the security personnel must adopt a good community relationship and cease to use force in response to the slightest provocation; communities across the nation should try to avoid growing tensions in potential conflict-affected areas.
The concepts of democratic policing and justifiable force must serve as the norm for all law enforcement personnel. A police officer may only use lethal force after all other non-lethal options have failed or shown no possibility of producing the desired results.
Whilst once more decrying all intentional assaults on public and private facilities and the wrongful killing of civilians and security personnel, CHRDI requests that the Sierra Leone government launch an impartial investigation to identify and prosecute individuals who may be responsible for these atrocities.
The police should make sure that everyone is allowed to exercise their freedom to protest and should defend the demonstrators from harm.
Any security-related activity must be based on upholding human rights and working to put an end to impunity.
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International also urges the government of Sierra Leone to launch an immediate investigation into the lawlessness of individuals and security personnel.
As a group that advocates for human rights, we will transform this collective rage into effective policy responses that will not only make life safer for citizens but also restore trust in the police and give hope to the families and communities that have been left in despair as a result of this violent acts.
When the law is respected, and everyone in every community is treated with respect by the law, everyone in every community benefits.
We also want to call attention to the duty-bearers who must defend human rights and work to aid those trying to exercise their rights. We implore all Sierra Leoneans to maintain peace and tranquilly.
Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) is a rights-based social policy advocacy organisation. We draw attention to the responsibilities of duty-bearers to uphold human rights and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to several UN Agencies. (END).