Cliques Under Seige

 

The entire nation welcomes the decision of the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) to take the fight to youthful lawless elements in society that terrorize and inflict harm on poor innocent and unsuspecting citizens going about their normal business.

It could be recalled that few years back, the former Minister of Internal Affairs in the erstwhile President Koroma’s led government, Retired Major Palo Conteh was forced to order the police to take tough proactive measures against gangsters and cliques after they committed series of violent attacks and murders in the city and other parts of the country. He even visited the Pademba Road Correctional Center and instructed staff to clean the gallows.

Affected communities were told to form vigilantes to identify and arrest the lawless elements in their localities and reward was offered by the Police leading to the identification and arrest of the leaders of cliques and criminal gangs. The action yielded dividends as the gangsters and cliques with their backs against the wall, hunted by their communities and the police, went into hiding and ceased their operations to  much to the satisfaction of the entire nation.

Lately however, citizens living in urban areas across the country have raised concerns that the gangsters and cliques have once more in defiance of the law activated their heinous acts. For example, last month, in Wilberforce Village, a woman returning home at around 8 p.m. from attending an evening church service was attacked by five youths along the lonely stretch of Cemetery Road. When she tried to resist, she was brutalized, thrown on the ground and her bag containing valuable documents taken from her. The thugs vanished into the cemetery. Several people report of having been attacked in that same vicinity and robbed.

Reports of these natures happen every day in virtually all communities in the Western Area; Waterloo having become the most notorious for such dastardly attacks on poor innocent citizens by criminals and clique members. In the city, petty women traders who go early in the morning to Dove Cot market to buy food items to resell in their localities are daily attacked and robbed.

No community is safe. In Central Freetown, back of Rasmussen Street in the Brookfields Community, Lumley, Kissy, there are daily reports of attacks on people returning home in the evening from work and business places. More frightening is that in many urban communities – notoriously Freetown, Bo, Kenema and Makeni, people cannot sleep safely at night as these clique boys and girls who have transformed themselves into murderous night carpenters attack homes, breaking down doors and rob, and rape women.

Therefore, it is good news that the SLP, sensitive of its paramount constitutional responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of the citizens of this country has come out with a strongly worded statement warning criminals and cliques that they would be playing with fire if they do not immediately desist from the unlawful acts. Below is the Notice from the Police signed by the Inspector General of Police:

 

Public Notice

The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) Management is deeply concerned about the nationwide spread of youth crimes, gangsterism and clique activities in schools, colleges, universities and local communities. These anti-social activities associated with gangs and cliques to perpetuate violence have become a menace to society.

Their mode of operation is heinous – as they parade the streets armed with knives, machetes, sharp pointed objects and other offensive weapons with the intention to terrorize and inflict harm on peaceful and unsuspecting persons who go about their normal business.

The SLP management is also aware that these groups are commanded by people who call themselves “Five Os or “Generals”, who would have had to perform a heinous act to earn that title.

The SLP management would like to make it abundantly clear that it frowns at the violent behavior of a cross section of our young people and the untold suffering their activities are causing for peace loving individuals in Sierra Leone.

To address this social menace, the SLP will embark on sustained operations country-wide with the aim of identifying, arresting, investigating and prosecuting gang and clique members in our society.

The SLP management therefore calls on the general public to assist the Police with relevant and timely information that would lead to achieving its objective of halting the spread of the activities of the groups.

In this regard, we are strongly urging all young men and women who are members of these gangs and cliques to stop these violent activities. Likewise, we are calling on community members, parents, guardians, teachers, lecturers and the general public to discourage the existence of these groups in their communities, schools, colleges and universities, as they have the potential to undermine the peace, security and tranquility of the state.

Additionally, the SLP will offer a bounty of Le2, 000,000.00 (Two Million Leones) to anyone who provides undisputed information leading to the identification, arrest, investigation and prosecution of “Five Os or “Generals”.

Any information received, in this regard, will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

Signed;

 

Dr Richard Moigbe

Inspector General of Police

3rd July 2018

Contact person: Superintendent Brima Kamara – Head of Media and Public Relations (077 36-10-70;  079 50-98-96)