February 21, 2018 By Mohamed Massaquoi from Gendema
Notwithstanding that Head of Operations of the Sierra Lone Police, Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Foday Daboh has assured Sierra Leoneans that the SLP is fully prepared, with support from government, to provide reliable and secured security before, during and after the 2018 general elections, police personnel deployed at Gendema have disclosed that they would not assure of providing adequate security on election as they are grappling with numerous challenges in that part of the country.
Local Unit Commander Edward Yamba said they have 49 crossing points in their area of operations – on the border with Liberia – and that they were finding it difficult to police the area because they lack the necessary equipment.
He said they lack vehicles, motorbikes plus other means of transportation to move their personnel from one point to another, adding that they often use commercial vehicles to carry out police operations.
Gendema is strategically located in the southern region of the country and people from Liberia could easily travel from Monrovia to the south or eastern regional headquarters of Bo and Kenema.
“I am not complaining because we respect command and control. We are doing our best to providing the appropriate security for our people but we are absolutely challenged as we are charged with the responsibility of providing watertight security along our border crossing points. We do not have enough men on ground and remember we are approaching elections. We have managed political campaign until this level. Remember that we have Sierra Leoneans in Liberia who came in during the registration process and I am sure they will be coming for the elections. I want to appeal to the government for support to the SLP so that Gendema police station will benefit,” he appealed.
The head of communications at the Gendema Police station, Inspector Samuel Udysseus Kamara, also lamented that their communication equipment is outdated, which he said poses a major challenge to coordinate activities of their personnel, especially when they are on operations.
He said most of the communities in their area of operations do not have access to mobile telecommunication system and that inhabitants strongly rely on the police communication sets to transmit information to those in remote communities.
“I have used this equipment for over ten years, it is now obsolete. I will say this with authority that we do not have reliable communication system in this station,” he said.