Sierra Leone: NCD Express Dissatisfaction Over Kabala Incident

The National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has expressed dissatisfaction over clashes between police officers and youths in Kabala, which resulted in the deaths of three armless civilians while several others were critically injured.

Last Tuesday, 16 August, youths in the headquarters of Koinadugu district staged a peaceful demonstration over the government's decision to relocate a Youth Village that had been promised the district since 2014. The ensuing confrontation with the police left three youths dead and several injured.

The NCD stated in a press release that the unfortunate incident in Kabala was tantamount to undermining the fragile peace of the nation as chaos in one part of the country amounts to chaos in the rest of the country, thus condemning the acts of violence and outcomes.

The commission noted that the Kabala incident continues to send a very wrong signal about the nature of peace and the redress mechanism in the country, bringing into focus the need to rethink the position on the nation's peace infrastructure and the mindset that ignites violence of the magnitude seen in Kabala.

"As it stands now, the rioting of our young people on the pretext of a message about changing the location of a proposed youth village should force us to sit and think as a nation bringing to mind the realisation that we need a lot of education, especially civic education, as we help every Sierra Leonean, including the young people, to learn the genuine culture of democracy in making known their grievances without resorting to any form of violence as evident in the Kabala incident," the release stated.

The NCD further stated that the Kabala incident again brought to the fore series of allegations bordering on the fact that men in uniform have again used lethal force resulting in the deaths reported, thus raising the question of whether they could not have used some other means of quelling the riot without recourse to the means that resulted in the deaths and injuries.

They called on all Sierra Leoneans to keep the peace, maintain law and order and obey all law enforcement agencies, whilst at the same time urging all state security agencies, including law enforcement agencies, to operate within the ambit of the law in order to avoid the use of excessive force.

"Let it be reiterated here that in a democracy, there are legitimate means of seeking redress and all must endeavor to follow the due process rather than taking the law into their own hands as the days of jungle justice are over including the use of unbridle power," statement concluded.

Source: Concord Times.

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