Violent Protest in Sierra Leone: APC Party Youth Leader in Makeni Escapes from Police Detention

Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George
Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George

By Abubakarr Harding

As the 19th July, 2020 bloody violent protest in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone, was finally quelled down by the Sierra Leone Police, scores of young people were reported dead and some sustained serious injuries and unfortunately, others have been arrested and are currently detained at the Mena Hills Police Station, with the Police intimating this medium that they are putting evidence together and once that is done then they will charge the perpetrators for unlawful protest and riotous conduct.

Days after the unfortunate incident, normalcy is gradually returning to Makeni, which at the moment, looks like a ghost town. However, because the Police are indiscriminately arresting young people believed to have fuelled the protest many young people for now are jittery and hesitant to venture out in order to go about their usual business activities.

One of the most notable young people targeted to be arrested for the instrumental role he played in staging the protest was one Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George, said to be a Honorary Executive Member of the main opposition APC Party and the Chairman of the APC Youth League in Makeni.

This young man, who is said to be on the run, is most wanted by the Sierra Leone Police more especially as he is known to have led past protests and rallies against the ruling SLPP led Government on issues considered to be bordering on political marginalization.

After successfully dodging Police arrests, he finally ran out of luck and he was arrested, badly beaten and tortured on a tip off, closer to the Clock Tower, in Makeni City, although he was in disguise and could not be easily identified.

While he was held in detention, according to the Police, Pastor Franklyn, smartly made use of the distraction of the Police Officers’ attention which was caused by a noisy crowd of people who have converged on the Police Station seeking for their immediate release and to report a matter of child trafficking to escape. When it became noticeable that the suspect has escaped the Police mounted a manhunt for him.

The whole incident emanated on the 19th 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 of Makeni, especially young people, deemed as a deliberate ploy to deprive the city of its bona fide generator, underscoring that the decision was politically motivated and orchestrated bordering on marginalizing residents in that part of the country.

Vociferous among the young people was one Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George, who was the Youth Leader of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) Party in Makeni.

According to an eye witness account, it was Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George who galvanized and coordinated the other young people to physically resist the removal of the Stand-by Generator telling them that they were been sidelined and ostracized by the ruling Government.

Makeni, being the stronghold of the main opposition APC Party, it was easy for Pastor Franklyn’s incitement to become infectious gaining widespread currency.

The Police started firing at the marauding and menacing irate youths who were by then advancing, armed with sticks, cutlasses and knives 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.

Pastor Franklyn and some were lucky enough to so far survive the arrests with injuries but they have been declared wanted by the Police and from what this news entity learnt even some youths who are supportive of the ruling SLPP Government have vowed to teach them caustic lessons of respecting the policies of a sitting Government. Pastor Franklyn and some like him are somehow caught in a situation of being between the devil and the deep blue sea.

When this medium contacted the Head of Police Media, Superintendent Brima Kamara, to know what the situation is like now since the incident has died down, he categorically stated that they are still looking for the perpetrators, including one Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George for, what he termed as their dastardly act of cowardice to be held accountable for disturbing the peace and inflicting injuries on Police Officer.

“As a matter of fact there is a notice to the effect that anyone who gives information leading to the capture and arrest of Pastor Franklyn will be nicely rewarded as his prosecution is necessary to send a strong message that young people must refrain from political violence,” the Police Head of Media and Communication also pointed out.

He intimated that they are particularly looking out for Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George, Hassan S. Dumbuya (AKA Evangelist Samson), James Thullah, Sulaiman Tejan Sesay, Idriss Kamara, Alie Conteh and others, all wanted for what the police call ‘‘unlawful riotous conduct.’’

Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George
Pastor Franklyn Mustapha George


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