SLPP ‘disturbed’ by ‘illegal’ arrests of members


April 22, 2015 By Matthew Jabby

Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie, has said the opposition party was disturbed by “the continuing wave of illegal arrests of our members by the Sierra Leone Police”, allegedly on “orders from above”.

The main opposition scribe issued a statement yesterday after nine members of the party’s Young Generation group were picked up by the police this week following a demonstration at the U.S. Embassy in Freetown on Thursday, 16 April.

“The public would recall that a group of concerned Serra Leoneans, including some young members of the SLPP, held a peaceful protest at the United States Embassy in Freetown, Thursday April 16th, 2015 in demonstration of their disagreement with President Koroma’s unconstitutional removal of the elected Vice President. The said protest was entirely peaceful and the protestants conducted themselves within the ambit of the law,” said Tejan-Sie in a statement.

He said they were “bewildered” that while the police did not arrest the protesters while demonstrating at the U.S. Embassy, they have gone on to conduct raids at the homes of some of the protesters whose only crime he alleged was “holding a peaceful demonstration on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy”.

He accused the police force of being partisan, because they have only being busy arresting opposition members that took part in a “peaceful demonstration” while turning a blind eye to “a rowdy crowd of ruling party supporters [who] converged at Bottom Mango, Wilberforce and at the Lungi airport grounds, Sunday April 19th, 2015, singing and dancing in demonstration of their support for President Ernest Bai Koroma”.

He said the party was in total condemnation of what he described as an “undemocratic and nefarious conduct of the leadership of the Sierra Leone Police”, and that the latter would be blamed for any “legitimate and constitutional actions” of opposition members operating underground.

He ominously warned that efforts to curtail their citizenship rights could harden the resolve of their members to unilaterally take actions to “counter the undemocratic and partisan actions of the police force”.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Police are yet to react to the opposition statement.