By Sulaiman Juldeh Bah
Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Police, Superintendent Ibrahim Samura has confirmed that 56 clique members have been arrested for various offences including murder, riotous conduct and possession of offensive weapons.
During APC’s nomination of its presidential candidate, Friday 26th, clique members went on the rampage at Campbell Street, terrorizing peaceful citizens, which prompted a swift police intervention to put the situation under control.
According to Supt. Samura, the APC rally was peaceful but at closing stage of the exercise, hoodlums masquerading as clique groups descended on Campbell Street, barricading the entire place and forcefully seizing people’s valuables such as mobile phones and other items just like that.
The police who were deployed at strategic points responded swiftly, and in trying to put the ugly situation to rest, had clique members pelting stones and other dangerous objects on them.
“After a brief stand-off with the clique members, the police eventually gained the upper hand and put them under siege, which eventually led to the searching of a house at No. 104 Campbell Street that was used as hideout,” Supt. Samura claimed.
“During police’s search of the house, 43 cutlasses, 5 pick axes, dozens of shovels and other offensives weapons were discovered.”
One Shek is presently helping the police in their investigation.
Campbell Street has been earmarked as one place where clique squads are active, but police say they will maintain strong presence there throughout the electioneering process.
Supt. Samura also disclosed that during the riot many sustained degrees of injuries including members of the public and police officers.
In light of the aforementioned incident, he urged members of the public including parents/guardians to monitor their children to ensure that they do not join cliques, plus also ask them give intelligence to the police leading to the arrest of clique members.
He maintained that these youths are not members of any political parties but are using colours such as green and red whenever there is a political or any other crowd pulling event to wreck havoc and cause mayhem.
He therefore advised political parties not to encourage theses clique squads to join their political rallies as they might use such situations to go on the rampage, thereby portraying the parties in bad light.
Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) and Coalition for Change (C4C) have unanimously condemned the violence that erupted on the day of the APC nomination rally which led to one death, several injuries, vandalism and widespread theft of people’s valuables.
In another development, Supt. Samura also confirmed the arrest of five persons, including one Islamic cleric at Calaba Town Thursday 25th for the disappearance of three children who were later discovered in a vehicle with one of them dead.
He said a day before the arrest of the accused persons, the police at Calaba Town Police Station got distress calls from parents complaining about their missing children.
This, they say, led to police being put on red alert in the east end part of the city, mounting thorough search as they look out for the missing kids.
He said within the course of police search, the three children were discovered in one vehicle at Koroma Street – Calaba Town with one dead and the two others tightly tied, which according to him, caused irate youth to go on the rampage wanting to raise the house of one of the accused (Islamic cleric) to the ground but were prevented by the police.
He concluded by saying that the five arrested persons are at the CID helping police in their investigations, while the twins who survived have been handed over to their parents after receiving medical attention and the body of deceased at Connaught Mortuary awaiting postmortem.