Sierra Leone Telegraph: 12 June 2022:
After an orgy of political violence swept through Bendugu Town in the Tonkolili district of Sierra Leone last Tuesday, where scores of people were injured and many properties destroyed, the impartiality of the Sierra Leone police is once again being called into question.
The country’s main opposition party – the APC are accusing the ruling SLPP of violently attacking their supporters ahead of constituency bye election, which the SLPP have denied with counteraccusations.
But it is the actions of the police that many in Sierra Leone find worrying, as the country slowly prepares for presidential and general elections in 2023.
A report by the European Union published last year, accused the Sierra Leone police of lacking independence and inability to enforce law and order impartially.
Writing in reaction to last week’s violence and destruction in Tonkolili – a district regarded as an opposition stronghold which the ruling SLPP must win in 2023, the United Nations’ Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone – Babatunde Ahonsi is calling for inter-party dialogue. This is what he said:
“The United Nations in Sierra Leone expresses concern over the violent incidents that occurred on 7 June 2022 in Bendugu town, Sambaia Chiefdom, Tonkolili district, ahead of the by-elections for the Member of Parliament of Constituency 056, leading to injuries to people and damage to properties.
“The United Nations deeply condemns all forms of violence and calls on all parts of society – including political leaders and party supporters, traditional and religious leaders, national and local institutions, and citizens in general – to commit to a spirit of tolerance and to work together to maintain peace in Sierra Leone.
“The United Nations in Sierra Leone calls for a prompt investigation of the incidents so that perpetrators may be brought to justice. The United Nations in Sierra Leone urges dialogue, including between political parties, to resolve political differences and stands ready to support such dialogue.”
Dr Samura Kamara, the opposition APC presidential candidate at the 2018 elections said this on his tweeter feed: