AUGUST 29, 2014
The Inspector General of Police, Francis Alieu Munu and the Chief of Defence Staff in the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), Major General S.O. Williams on Friday 15th August visited police and military Ebola deployments in Bo and Kenema on a fact-finding mission and to boost the morale of personnel on the ground.
In Bo, the Inspector General and entourage were received by the Regional Police Commander South, Assistant Inspector General David Sesay, who briefed them about the state of preparedness of police personnel and other security actors deployed in strategic locations to contain the Ebola outbreak.
AIG Sesay said eleven (11) areas suspected to have inhabitants who have been infected with the deadly Ebola virus had been quarantined in the Southern Region, so as to control the movement of people and prevent the spread of the killer virus to unaffected areas.
In his statement, the Brigade Commander, South said that both the police and the military had been working in synergy by manning checkpoints and providing quarantine services. He intimated that the two main security actors would be erecting a checkpoint in Jembe, the boundary between Bo and Kenema, as they had been getting intelligence that people are by-passing the main checkpoint erected in Bandama, thereby spreading the virus to people in other areas.
In a rather no nonsense mood, the Chief of Defence Staff, Major General S.O. Williams, informed personnel about the seriousness of the Ebola epidemic and the dire need to seal off Kailahun and Kenema from the rest of the country so that the deadly virus would not spread across the country.
The military boss emphasised that the people of Sierra Leone rely on the security sector to step up the necessary security measures geared towards tackling the epidemic, and cautioned personnel not to betray the confidence and trust which the people have reposed on them, noting that they should be vigilant, professional and ethical in the exercise of their duties.
Major General Williams also addressed the military Brigade Command in Bo and Kenema.
The Inspector General of Police Francis Alieu Munu, in his address to police personnel, said that the role of the police in the fight against the deadly Ebola outbreak is crucial as the disease is very serious and has the tendency to wipeout an entire generation. He said that the disease is spread through body contact and everything should be done to contain it, as the mortality rate is very high.
Mr. Munu said that the government has declared a state of emergency to have more powers to deal with the dreadful epidemic in the interest of the public, and expressed dismay over the present state of the economy which, according to him, is crumbling as investors are running away and some flights have suspended their operations in the country.
He called on all police officers to fight the epidemic with all their might and determination, and admonished them to discharge their duties with maximum professionalism, warning that police officers caught in corrupt practices would be dismissed and charged criminally.
The police chief and CDS reminded police officers and military personnel of their responsibilities in curbing the spread of the Ebola outbreak which include, but not limited to manning all Ebola checkpoints, screening and identification of Ebola suspects, provision of quarantine services for suspect houses, help trace and identify persons who have contracted the virus, help secure Ebola treatment centres, respond to public disorders that may arise from responses provided by health officials and many more.
On Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd August, the Inspector General of Police and Chief of Defence Staff visited police and military deployments in the North-East and West regions of the country, where they addressed security personnel and local authorities about the seriousness of the Ebola outbreak and the need for a collaborative effort in the fight against the dreadful epidemic, which they described as a common enemy.
They urged security actors to be vigilant and uncompromising in the exercise of their duties in tackling the virus and warned them of the consequences of indulging in corrupt practices.