With three unidentified youths were reported dead in a Tuesday August 16 2016 clash between police and youths in the town of Kabala in northern Sierra Leone, youth leaders’ Musa Alpha Kargbo and Mohammed Marrah has been declared wanted by the state.
The youths who were demonstrating against the government’s decision to move a youth village that was destined to be built in Kabala to Mile 91 in the Tonkolili District, which is also in the north of Sierra Leone, burnt the house of the police local unit commander, Alimamy Bangura and the offices of the ruling All People’s Congress party in Kabala Town.
Twenty-two youths are said to have been arrested while the youth leaders, Musa Alpha Kargbo and Mohammed Marrah are in hiding, with the Sierra Leone police already declared them wanted by the state, according to reports.
Police imposed a 24-hour curfew while the government invoked the Military Aid to Civil Power to beef up the security in Kabala.
The Government’s spokesperson, Alpha Kanu said he could not determine the cause of the demonstration, while the Paramount Chief of Kabala in the Koinadugu District, PC Alie Balasama III told reporters that the riot came as a result of the police refusal to agree to the demands of the youths to conduct “a peaceful demonstration” over the government’s decision to relocate the youth village from Koinadugu district to Tonkolili district.
According to our sources from the township, Police officers called on the scene to control the protesters, fatally shot youths and injured a few others. This resulted in a rampage that led to the loss of more lives and burning down of houses. The situation was very tense in the town on Tuesday, but had it not been for the intervention of the military, the situation would have been worse.
However, the situation is said to be calm on Wednesday and the curfew was reduced from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m. in the morning. The Police are in search of the youth leaders, with reports stating that both Musa Alpha Kargbo and Mohammed Marah are on the run.
“According to the information we’ve gathered Musa Alpha Kargbo is a descendant from Makeni, while Mohammed Marrah is a son of this soil. We’ve already declared both of the wanted by the state. Police local unit commander-Alimamy Bangura maintained. “We’ve interviewed Foday Kargbo, a brother of Musa Alpha Kargbo and we were made to understand that he is presently in one of our neighbouring Country, but for Mohammed Marrah, we believe he is still in the Country. We have a reward for any information leading to their arrest,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI) has strongly condemned the recent police attack on innocent protesters and the police brutality, both during and in its aftermath.
“We are extremely concerned that the standard of policing in Sierra Leone has sunk to unimaginable depths. For far too long, there have been double standards in place for police officers involved in incidents of brutality and misconduct, and Tuesday’s event in Kabala is no exception. The ease with which police officers use live bullets to disperse unarmed protesters is a very worrying sign for this nation’s political future.”
“We have evidence of Police violence and professional misconduct from all over Sierra Leone, and we believe that the impunity enjoyed by the Sierra Leone Police explains the distrust and cynicism that undermines effective policing in Sierra Leone. No police officer has ever been convicted for any of the killings or acts of brutality against civilians.” CHRDI stated.