On the re-opening of SLPP Office … “We would never encourage violence” John Benjamin...

Curfew in Kenema

A dusk to dawn curfew has been imposed in the city of Kenema following political disturbances between the two main political parties.
As a result of the fracas, the District SLPP Secretary-General Maadi Pauwie Sellu was arrested for being in possession of a knife and according to Police reports; he also collared a soldier during the arrest. As a result of the unrest, an urgent security meeting was held which resulted in the imposition of a 7pm -8am curfew in Kenema.
Earlier, the announcement of the Presidential result by the National Returning Officer of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Dr. Christiana Thorpe on Friday 23rd November 2012 did spark off a chain of reaction which resulted in the confrontation between supporters of the two political parties SLPP and APC. After the announcement on Friday evening, hundreds of APC supporters in Kenema some dressed in their party colours, took to the streets of Kenema jubilating, singing while some engaged in abusive and provocative songs against the SLPP presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio and his running mate, Dr. Kadie Sesay and some party supporters of the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party in Kenema.
Some youths during their jubilation, advanced on the SLPP regional office at 26 Hangha Road but met strong resistance from the SLPP youths who were at the scene. However, the Police moved in very swiftly to quell down the situation by using tear gas among the youths and then diverted all traffic leading to the office- a move which most people in Kenema described as ‘positive’ by the police.
Some other youths also went ahead to throw stones at the compound of some SLPP supporters in the city. Others cut down palm trees, the symbol of the SLPP, which they dragged through the streets of Kenema, as a sign of defeat against the SLPP.
At 10 Lambayama Avenue, known as ”Tumba street ” the youths threw stones at the house and used abusive language against the owner of the compound Sao Sandi, until the Police intervened.
Madam Sao confirmed that she has formally reported the incident to her party executive and that henceforth she has withdrawn the land she gave to some people on the street, to sell.
At Kakpema village in the Nongowa chiefdom in the Kenema district, tension was raised in the village among the people which caused the Officer-In-Charge of the Blama police station and team to visit the village and quell down the situation.
The villagers then responded to the jubilation and provocation by stopping all strangers who have been mining in their village and told them to return to their place of origin telling them that they will no longer allow a stranger to mine in their bushes.
On Sunday 25th November 2012 at about 5:30pm some youths dressed in SLPP party colours were chanting along Sumaila street ‘No Maada Bio, No Government’, causing the Police to intervene and used tear gas to disperse the crowd.
The Assistant Inspector-General (AIG) of Police Sorie B. Kargbo says the lifting of the 7pm -7pm curfew depends on the prevailing situation in the city. He called on all to be law abiding and warned them not to take the law into their hands.
He said Sierra Leone belongs to all and that the focus of all at this moment will be development and not destruction. The AIG appealed to the party executive to ensure that their party members remain law abiding at all time.
The SLPP party executives are now demanding the release of their members from police detention.
By Saffa Moriba

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