…President Koroma orders OSDs disarmed By Mohamed Massaquoi
August 11, 2015 By Mohammed Massaquoi
A source from the Ministry of Internal Affairs has told Cord Times that President Ernest Bai Koroma has ordered Inspector General of Police Francis Alieu Munu to disarm some Operational Service Division (OSD) personnel of the Sierra Leone Police across the country, following a spate of unwarranted killing of innocent civilians.
Our source disclosed that a cross-section of OSD personnel were invited last week to their headquarters in Freetown in order to be informed about the development and how the order can be effectively implemented.
Head of Police Media Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Ibrahim Samura said in a telephone interview with our reporter that the management of the Sierra Leone Police has put in place new regulations which require OSD officers to leave their guns in the nearest police station before going home.
The new regulation, according to a small arms expert who preferred anonymity, will significantly reduce the number of unlawful deaths of civilians by armed police officers.
OSD officers have killed many innocent persons or their colleagues in incidents such involving altercations with civilians, and while effecting arrests or quelling riots, across the country.
Despite efforts since the end of conflict to reform the police by successive governments, police brutality and killings have been on the increase, much to the consternation of citizens, the Human Rights Commission and rights groups in the country.
Small arms experts and human rights activists blame the killings and abuses on the militarisation of the post-conflict police force.
Just ahead of the 2012 general elections, the government of Sierra Leone purchased weapons worth approximately $5 Million.
Also, a leaked memo this year circulated over social media indicated that government had asked the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria to be given permission to purchase more arms and ammunition, despite the Ebola outbreak.