• August 19, 2022

APC CALLS FOR DATA ON 8/10 KILLINGS, ARRESTS

APC CALLS FOR DATA ON 8/10 KILLINGS, ARRESTS
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By: Henry Kargbo

Leader of the Opposition in the House of Parliament of Sierra Leone, Hon. Chernor Ramadan Maju Bah, has called on government to provide data on the exact number of killing perpetuated by the security forces during the August 10, 2022 protest.

In a press statement issued on Wednesday 17 August 2022, at a conference held with journalists in Committee Room No. 1, Parliament Building at Tower Hill in Freetown, the Leader of the main Opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) reflected on the long sufferings of Sierra Leoneans which has been added to by another shock of violence that emanated from clash between state security personnel and protesters on 10 August 2022.

“The clashes resulted in the loss of lives of security personnel of the Sierra Leone Police and several civilians,” said Hon. Chernor R. Maju Bah.

Hon. Bah said that citizens were subjected under harrowing conditions for several days as in the case of comrade Hassan S. Dumbuya (Evangelist Samson) and others. In a sad mood, he said: “I continue to express my profound condolences to the families who lost their loved ones. May their souls rest in perfect peace.”

He said as the nation grieves, “let me state that I strongly condemn violence of any form and believe that there are much more progressive and constructive approaches to communicate our concerns including peaceful protests”.

The APC Leader in the House however underscored the need for government to grant citizens the rights to use protest to demonstrate their concerns, as long as those protests are peaceful, and are within the ambit of the laws of the country in a democratic dispensation.

He raised serious concern about the arbitrary arrests of several citizens including Mohamed Kamara (Med Kay) of the APC who was arrested even before the 10th of August protest and he is still in police custody. He therefore called on authorities to display a record of all those incarcerated and provide details of their conditions, and grant the public and their families access to them.

“I endorse the call for an independent committee to speedily and conclusively investigate the August 10th demonstrations and its aftermath,” the opposition leader said, adding: “The composition and conduct of the committee is credible and non-partisan with the sole aim of providing truthful findings and proffer recommendations that will amongst other things help to provide redress for the families of victims.”

Hon. Bah thus urged government to take immediately steps to ameliorate the situation by ensuring that the number of people killed during and after the incident are made public, with their corpses handed over to their families for dignified burial rites.

The Opposition Leader of the House urged government to ensure that rights of those arrested are protected through speedy and fair access to a court of law, adding that victims should also be provided with legal representation where they could not afford one.

Hon. Bah called on the Inter-Religious Council (IRC), Council of Paramount Chiefs and other Civil Society Organizations as well as community leaders to mobilise and take the right steps in engaging the relevant stakeholders, with the aim of helping to promote reconciliation, healing and social cohesion across the country.

He observed that the events leading to the 10th August 2022 protest clearly indicate that there had been an erosion in the gains made in strengthening reconciliation, social cohesion and peace building in the post-war nation. He encouraged all to employ the use of constructive means of dialogue to maintain peace, stability, social cohesion and security in Sierra Leone.

“More than ever before,” Hon Bah said, “there is the need for all to reverse this trend by reflecting on where the country has gone wrong and what can be done in ensuring that the gains made over the years to consolidate peace, are not lost.” He warns that violence can only undermine stability and development, and therefore calls on Sierra Leoneans to remain calm and law-abiding.

“The crucial role of the civil society is the consolidation of democratic good governance in Sierra Leone as we draw closer to the 2023 elections,” The APC honourable said.

“I also call on the International Community to continue to provide the required political support and inspire the much needed political will to overcome the challenges that our nation is currently contending with.”

Hon. Bah reminded all that “what unites us is mightier than what is trying to divide us”.

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