July 22, 2020
By Mohamed Sesay
Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), has yesterday strongly condemned the recent killings of protesting civilians in the northern headquarter town of Makeni, allegedly by the Sierra Leone Police.
They right group condemned the unfortunate act of the police via a press statement in which they expressed disappointment in the alleged use of live bullets by the Sierra Leone Police to disperse unarmed civilian protesters.
They further noted that the action of using live bullets by security personnel was uncalled for and could have been avoided through adequate consultations and dialogue.
They called on the government to set up an impartial independent investigation immediately to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the recent protest in Makeni that resulted in the death of at least five people and left nine others seriously injured.’
The organisation further indicated that Sierra Leone has witnessed several incidents of alleged shooting to death of defenceless and unarmed civilians at the hands of the Sierra Leone Police in places like Mile 91, Bunbuna, Tombo, and most recently, at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre in Freetown.
While they disapproved of the conduct of many youth considered to be riotous in character; they equally expressed belief that peaceful protests are not only a fundamental right and an integral part of democracy, but also a means through which citizens communicate their feelings and positions to their leaders.
They further advised that Protests must, therefore, not be criminalised and that citizens should not be criminalised for exercising their constitutional rights.
They noted that the killings in Makeni would have been prevented through adequate consultations and dialogue that should have gone beyond the political leaderships to include the general citizenry in the township, especially the youth.
They further reiterated the fact that the generator, which was at the centre of the protest is “Government Property” was not enough for it to be removed and taken away without proper and adequate dialogue to ensuring that such understanding with community members.
NMJD also acknowledged the fact that Sierra Leone has a large population that is unemployed and which serves as a breeding ground for disgruntled youth, who could spring up on every available opportunity to cause havoc.
NMJD reiterates its call on the Government of Sierra Leone to institute impartial investigations into the deaths of these our compatriots, publish the findings and take the necessary actions to promote justice and peaceful co-existence for all.