CAUGHT! -Social Media Inciter In Police Net

 

By Thomas S. Kembay

The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) in its efforts to maintain peace and tranquility before, during and after the 7th March, 2018 multitier elections have reportedly arrested one Abdul Sesay with 248 mobile sim cards in his possession alleged to be used for spreading inciting messages on social media.

In an emergency press conference held at the SLP Headquarters, George Street, Freetown on Tuesday 20th February, 2018, the suspect, Abdul Sesay who, according to police investigation, claimed to be a second year Art student of the Fourah Bay University and resident of Tengbe Town, west of the capital was shown to the press as one of those allegedly engaged in spreading hateful, inciting and malicious messages on social media with the intent to ignite violence and create national unrest during the March 7 polls.

Head of Crime Management at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Pademba Road, Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), Mohamed Bendu Kamara Esq. explained that according to investigation, Abdul Sesay is the author of fake news circulated on WhatsApp groups accusing the SLP to have connived with the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) party to rig the 7th March elections.

The fake WhatsApp news, he said, further accused some senior police officers of receiving eight thousand United State Dollars (US$8000) an equivalent of sixty million Leones (Le60m) to manhandle opposition party supporters and prevent the movement of vehicles to enable the ruling APC rig the upcoming elections.

In an angry mood, the Inspector General of Police Dr. Richard Moigbe pointed out that such news will not only create bad blood between the police and the other fifteen political parties but have the propensity to ignite violence and create unrest in the country on polling days.

He therefore emphasised that the police is as an independent institution that is neutral, impartial and professionally providing a level playing field for all political parties, would not sit by and allow few mischievous individuals to incite violence and chaos that will derail the development of the nation. He also hinted on the freedom of movement on polling day, noting that individual movements are not banned but that people moving in groups, commercial and private vehicles that do not have NEC pass are banned on that day.

The police, he said, will mount checkpoints and that all vehicles plying on that day will be checked. “Will it be possible to check all the vehicles in the country if they are all allowed to ply the roads on that day?” he asked.

He concluded by maintaining that  henceforth, the SLP will be monitoring the social media and will clamp down on any one who posts materials that have the potential to create national unrest during  the electioneering period.