Salone News

Sierra Leone: Government Shocked by Political Violence

3 May 2007 at 09:47 | 373 views

We have received the following press release from the office of the Vice President of Sierra Leone, Mr. Solomon Berewa(photo):

Press Release from the Office of the Vice President On the Disturbances in Freetown On Saturday 28 April.

Government has now received an official report from the police on the events of Saturday 28 April.

It will be recalled that two weeks earlier, Saturday April 14, the APC had requested and had received a permit to organize a peace rally. This event took place and the party members paraded around the Streets of Freetown unimpeded, and without any harassment.

For Saturday 28 April, the Arie Wuteteh (SLPP supporters in their party colors) requested and obtained a permit to parade a masked devil. The group was set upon and attacked at various points in the city by party sympathizers of another political party.

This resulted in damage to property and injuries to people. During the incidents various people were overheard inciting others to violence, chanting death threats and promising mayhem in the event that the ruling party wins the elections.

Investigations are now underway and the perpetrators will be dealt the full of the law.

Government is shocked that after the bitter experiences of this country during the ten year conflict, any political party can today advocate and actively pursue the tactics of violence and intimidation.

This government will not allow a return to the era where intimidation and violence characterized politics in this country; not under its watch. It was this form of governance that eventually led to over ten years of civil war. The people of Sierra Leone have struggled too hard, and suffered too long to allow anyone to take this country back to the past. Sierra Leone should never again know this era.

The public is hereby warned that tolerance by the authorities should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. Government has full confidence in the measures being adopted by the police to deal with anti-social behaviour, and to ensure that the rule of law prevails in this country.

Our Youths should not allow themselves to be manipulated by ruthless politicians. Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear. Government wishes to assure the population that all the resources of the state will be deployed to ensure elections that will be free of intimidation and violence.

The tactics of crying foul before the elections, intimidating voters, or provoking clashes are doomed to failure. Government is determined to ensure that nothing will mar the elections, and urges the population to remain calm and turn out in large numbers to vote on Election Day.