RSLAF says detonation gadgets not available
January 1o, 2017 By Joseph S. Margai
Director of Public Relations in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Brigadier Usman Turay, has told Concord Times that they have not detonated a bomb discovered on Fourah Bay College (FBC) campus because detonation gadgets are very expensive and not available for sale in Sierra Leone.
The said bomb was discovered by FBC security personnel few months ago, who alerted officials of RSLAF. The bomb is allegedly said to have been dropped on the university campus during the civil war in Sierra Leone.
Deputy Chief Security Officer at FBC, Fayia Benedict Nyango, said the bomb was discovered by some of his personnel who were doing routine security patrol on campus.
He said they informed the college authorities who immediately drew the attention of Ministry of Defense and that officials from RSLAF visited the campus and made a make-shift fence around the bomb as a preventive measure.
“It has now taken eight months since they informed RSLAF about it but nothing has been done to detonate it,” he said.
Asked when the bomb had been dropped on FBC campus, Mr. Nyango said he could not tell because Sierra Leone had gone through war and several military coups, adding that it probably was dropped there during those turbulent periods.
However, Brigadier Turay said in a mobile phone interview with Concord Times last Friday that gadgets needed to detonate the bomb are not sold in the country and that they were very difficult to come by.
He added that they usually procure them from overseas whenever the need arises, adding that they have constructed a make-shift fence around the bomb site so as to alert students and residents to keep-off.
“Sometimes the people that detonate bombs lose their lives in the process and that is why we were taking our time to do it. I will have to call the engineers at RSLAF to go to FBC campus to look at it first before we could take action. The engineers will in turn advise us whether they will collect it and detonate it elsewhere or do it on FBC campus,” he said.
Like the college administration, many students have expressed fear over the fact that the bomb is still lying on campus, months after it was discovered.
A third year student of Peace and Conflict Studies, Lamin Sesay, noted that as the new academic year is about to start, students would be worried that the bomb was yet to be detonated or removed from the campus.
“We will resume lectures come February and we want the college administration to take urgent action before lives are lost,” he pleaded.
Another student of Library Studies Department, Sallay Vandy, said she would not resume classes until the bomb is removed or detonated, adding: “my life is important than anything else.”
Meanwhile, authorities of the University of Sierra Leone are making frantic efforts to ensure that the bomb is removed or detonated before lectures resume.