November 6, 2019
The National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED) hosted a brainstorming session with four community leaders from the East end of Freetown, who have been working with young people, especially those involved in cliques and clique-related violence in Freetown.
The session was held on Wednesday October 30, 2019 at the Council’s head office,21 Steward Street Freetown.
In his welcome address, Chairman of NaCCED, Kalilu Totangi thanked the community leaders for responding to his request to dialogue around the issue of clique violence and its impact on communities.
He said the purpose of the session was to brainstorm and come up with a realistic plan of activities intended to set the stage for nationwide response to gangsterism and gang-related violence.
He implored them to support the Council’s drive to address the situation and suggested that the journey could start with identifying the groups, their leaders, and understanding the causes.
He stressed that the Council relies on them who have the expertise to lead the intervention given their long years of experience working with the target population.
Totangi emphasized that the Council would partner with other MDAs and non-governmental organizations to respond to the situation.
The Chairman thanked them for responding to his call, and for their work with young people, and their desire to help address what he described as national crisis.
He encouraged them to contribute freely to the discussion, and that they were not under pressure to do so.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr. Green, one of the community leaders, who is also the Regional Secretary General, Local Policing Partnership Board, thanked the Council for the invitation.
He commended their effort in responding to the crisis in the Fourah Bay community.
He applauded all stakeholders who contributed to the peace the community enjoys today, noting that their success was due to sustained engagement of the gang leaders and members.
Green stressed that schools are breeding grounds for gangsterism and emphasized the need to develop a response strategy for that target population.
Generally, he stressed the need to get the young people engaged through employment, skills training, and rehabilitation.
He recalled former gang members who have disengaged from clique activities because they have jobs.
He informed the meeting that the East end of Freetown is the throttlehold of gangsterism, and the younger gang members are the most dangerous. He stressed the need for these to be “handled with great caution”.
Rahim another community leader (Area Policing Partnership) stressed that it is very difficult to solve this national crisis.
He informed the gathering that regulating the importation of KUSH is critical to addressing this situation.
He stressed that regulating importation of this dangerous drug has corresponding positive effect on addressing gangsterism and gang-related violence nationally.
Rahim also advised that sustained engagement of their leaders and membership will produce positive results.
He concluded that Kao Denero and LAJ should be involved with this project. He stressed their importance in addressing the situation because some of the boys owe allegiance to Kao and LAJ.
Mr. Habib Mansaray, a committed community elder, also stressed the need to keep the boys engaged. He informed members of his contribution to addressing the Fourah Bay and Kossoh Town gang violence. He commended all stakeholders who contributed to bringing peace to the two communities. He cautioned that giving masquerades permit to perform outdoor activities might not be a wise decision at this moment.
NaCCED Director of Programme and Research, Director of Communications and Outreach, and other members of staff thanked the community leaders for their participation, and their work with young people generally.
They stressed the commitment of the institution to addressing problems of young people.
They stressed the Council’s intention to partner with other institutions working with young people to address this national crisis.
Members agreed to meet again in the near future to continue the discussion and to develop concrete intervention plans.