SDI damns alleged police killing of youth, demands speedy investigations


September 17, 2018

Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI) has in a press release condemned the loss of life of a 29-year-old man in Massengbeh Village, Mile 91, in Tonkolili district during a raid code-named ‘Operation Green Storm’ carried out by joint security forces, thus calling on the Independent Police Complaint Board (IPCB) to speedily carry out their investigation and for the police hierarchy to bring to book all those responsible for the killing of another Sierra Leonean.

Also, the right group “urge the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to look into this matter and to ensure appropriate measures are taken to stamp out police use of excessive force and the impunity that goes with it.”

The release observed that the Sierra Leone Police has a constitutional mandate to protect the lives and property of Sierra Leoneans, but that over the years “we have seen incidences of the violation of the constitutional mandate in the discharge of their duties.”

The right-based organisation noted that they were concerned that impunity of police abuses was deeply entrenched in Sierra Leone as the police have used excessive force, including lethal force, in the discharge of their constitutional duty in previous cases.

“On March 23 2017, a young Sierra Leonean boy was shot dead and two students were injured by gunshots in Bo when the Operations Support Division (OSD) of the Police fired live ammunition to disperse unarmed students protesting against the closure of Njala University. Similarly, the Sierra Leone Police on the 16th August 2016, two boys were killed and four men injured by gunshots when OSD police officers opened fire on youth protesters in Kabala in what was regarded as unlawful and excessive use of force,” the release stated.

The release continued that in all of the alleged police killings, SDI was unaware of any Police Officer held responsible for any of the incidents mentioned above despite recommendations from the IPCB and Commissions of Inquiry.

“While there have been internal Police investigations into some of the cases by the Complaints Discipline and Internal Investigation Department (CDIID), there has been insufficient public information about disciplinary measures taken against Police officers or what steps were taken towards internal police reform,” added the release.

Meanwhile, SDI also called on the Sierra Leone Police to use maximum restraints in their operations, noting that Sierra Leone is not a police state and to treat their constitutional mandate of protecting lives and property of Sierra Leoneans very seriously.