The Police have made public names of persons involved in last week’s demonstration as was ignited during a school sport meeting held at the National Stadium, Freetown.
The investigations, police say, revealed how some civil society members and an official of the Sierra Leone National Sports Council conspiratorially incited the demonstration.
A civil society member who doubles as Assistant Secretary of the Sierra Leone National Sports Council, Henol Roland Akuna Harding was part of those reportedly orchestrated such.
Other civil society members, police say, aided hundreds of persons involved in the demonstration.
Samuel Williams, Hassan Mansaray, Mabinty Turay, Mohamed Kalokoh, Abu-Bakr Sesay, Bernard Suaray, Felix Cole, Abraham Tarawalie and Mafinda Koroma all prominent civil society members have been named in the report.
Police say they have issued bench warrants for the arrest of all 10 (ten) activists involved in the demonstration for riotous conduct and disorderly behavior.
It could be recalled also that on 17th November 2017, residents of Freetown witnessed what was referred to as an ‘epitome of the January 6 invasion of Freetown.’
That if investors’ confidence can be assured, it is obvious Sierra Leone should be seen as an investor friendly society.
“The culture of youth violence must be treated with the utmost seriousness it deserves,” ASP Samura, police spokesperson said.
A Press Release issued shortly after the demonstration as signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Umaru A Conteh, stated that all school sporting activities within the Western Area have been suspended till further notice.
The suspension of school sporting activities, according to the Ministry of Education, came into effect after the said sports meeting by the Methodist Girls’ High School at the Siaka Steven Stadium on 17th November which ended in violence as was reportedly orchestrated by some Civil Society and Human Right Activists on grounds of high standards of living, uncalled for increase in the prices of fuel and of course other basic things in the country.
The Ministry of Education in their release strongly condemned such unacceptable behavior and went further to inform all education stakeholders and the general public that all sporting activities in schools in the western area have been suspended with immediate effect.
Today, the culture of excessive force used by the Sierra Leone Police in handling situation is becoming a major threat to the socio-economic development of this country, Says Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai, a Human Right Lawyer.
The Anti-Violence Movement was engaged in consultations and dialogue with the general public and was informed that the said demonstration was planned by the Human Right Organization.
This organization has been known for its regular circulation on social media things explaining better living conditions for the poor, in particular, those in the rural areas.
According to information, the Human Right Organization had earlier circulated messages on social media and local Television Stations about a peaceful demonstration they intend undertake on the 10th November 2016.
On getting this information, the Police quickly came out with press statement cautioning all to desist from any form of demonstration without a permit from them, failing which, will lead to legal action against anyone found culpable.
A member of the Civil Right Organization, Samuel Williams, in a recorded broadcast message circulated on social media after the incident said ‘they had used the sporting day of the High School to stage their peaceful demonstration after Police failed to respond to a letter they wrote asking for permission to host the demonstration on 10th November 2016.’
He said his organization forcefully used the sporting activities to stage the peaceful demonstration, but faced stiff resistance from Police officers who were shelling tear gas at will.
Sulaiman Kabba told journalists that he was leading a group of over a thousand pupils from different schools to stage a peaceful demonstration after they were briefed by the Human Right Organization to join them in their peaceful demonstration.
He said the demonstration was peaceful until the Police invaded them, shelling tear gas to disperse the demonstrators.
“We totally condemn violence perpetrated by school going children past Thursday 17th November 2016, which led to the destruction of vehicles and properties,” says an official of the Anti -Violence Movement.
However, management of the anti violence movement have recommended to the government to see reason in reducing pump prices, which they say have been the normal approach in handling fuel crisis in Sierra Leone.