By Foday Moriba Conteh
In the aftermath of the clashes that took place in Makeni City, Northern Sierra Leone, when violent fracas break out between some irate residents of the city and State security personnel, six young people were reportedly gunned down.
Days after the ugly incident erupted, the solemnity that still engulfs Makeni is indeed very scary, as human rights organizations in the country have been frantically calling for an independent inquiry into the incident in order to bring all those responsible to account.
With the catchy phrase of, “Makeni Lives Matters” various stakeholders of the city and within the district have also added their voices calling on the Government to institute an independent Commission of Inquiry and for justice to be meted out impartially.
The whole incident emanated on the 18th July 2020 when it became noticeable that the standby generator sometimes used to generate electricity for Makeni City was about to be forcefully removed and transferred to the Freetown International Airport in Lungi; an act which some residents, especially young people, deemed as a deliberate ploy to deprive Makeni of its bona fide generator, underscoring that the decision was politically motivated and orchestrated.
Vociferous among the young people was one Kolleh Santigie Bangura, who happens to be a member of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party.
According to eyewitnesses, Kolleh S. Bangura was among the youths who galvanized and coordinated the other young people to physically resist the removal of the Stand-by Generator telling them that they were being sidelined and ostracized by the ruling Government. Makeni, being the stronghold of the main opposition APC Party, it was easy for Kolleh S. Bangura and others incitement to become infectious, gaining widespread currency.
The Police started firing at the marauding and menacing irate youths, who were by then advancing and pelting stones on them. It was even alleged that some of the young people were also firing against the security personnel, who were only trying to defend themselves. However, the fact remains that at the end of the ugly incident six young people laid dead and some security personnel sustained serious injuries with one said to have been cut with a machete by Kolleh S. Bangura, who was at the forefront of resisting the removal of the generator.
Some arrests were made of those accused of stage managing the protest, but it is reported that one of the ring leader, Kolleh Bangura, narrowly escaped police arrest when he jumped over a window as the raid was getting close on him.
When this medium contacted the Head of Communication of the Sierra Leone Police, Superintendent Brima Kamara, to know what the situation is like now since the incident took place, he categorically stated that they are still looking for the perpetrators for, what he termed as their dastardly act of cowardice to be held accountable for inflicting injuries on Police Officer.
He intimated the Sierra Leone Police is looking out for, Sulaiman Tejan Sesay, Idriss Kamara, Kolleh Bangura, Alie Conteh and others, all wanted for riotous conduct.
According to our investigation, it was revealed that the members of the Sierra Leone Police continue to raid the family home of Kolleh S. Bangura on several occasions.
However, up to the time of going to Press, the whereabouts of Kolleh Bangura could not be located.