IG Munu Talks on National Security: “Police will be held liable for breach of security”
16th June 2012 · 0 Comments
Pa Baimba Sesay-China
Sierra Leone’s Inspector-General of Police, Francis Alieu Munu has spoken, that the police force will be held liable and responsible if there is any security breach in the country and as such, they would do all they can to ensure the safety and security of the people. He spoke on Saturday, 16th June during a telephone interview with this writer, on what they, as the nation’s security apparatus, have been doing in terms of manning the security of the state and in combating armed robbery in the country.
Some two weeks back, the police were involved in a fracas with community people in Wellington, east of the capital following suspicions of armed robbery related acts. This led to the death of two community youths, subsequently leading to President Ernest Bai Koroma, setting up a coroner’s inquest to look at the circumstances leading to the death of the said youths. Latest reports also indicate that “on Friday 15th June 2012 at about 3:am, an OSD officer shot at and killed a motorcycle rider at mambo in the Goderich area of Freetown, after the deceased rider had allegedly bulldozed a police checkpoint set up to check the movement of armed robbers.
Francis Munu, Police Chief in Sierra Leone
A news release from Police Headquarters, assured the general public that “the said OSD officer has been arrested and is being investigated at the CID headquarters in Freetown. He will subsequently, be charged for murder by Monday 18th June 2012. Meanwhile, “police headquarters, also used the said news release to called on “the public particularly the motorcycle riders to stay calm and go about their usual activities” as all efforts are being taken to ensure that members of the public go about their legitimate business without let or hindrance. And in a clear show of concern for his subjects, President Ernest Bai Koroma was reported to have graced the funeral of the two youths killed in Wellington.
Speaking with this writer over the phone over the weekend, I-G Munu said, because it is their responsible to provide security for the citizenry of the country, they will not undermine the security and peace of the country and that “the recent incidents in the country are isolated ones that have bearing on the pending elections …they came at a time we are trying to curtail the increase in armed robbery in the country…” As a force, I-G Munu said, they have reversed their strategy to control armed robbery in the country and referred to the recent killings of youths as being “unfortunate incidents.” He assured that they will do their best to meet the security needs of the country.
This writer also asked the Police chief what assurances are there, that they will provide a level playing field during the coming elections. Giving the great potentials that President Ernest Bai Koroma has in terms of winning the elections, the force has also often been accused of favoring the government party, a charge, the police boss refutes. “The police cannot do anything to hinder or promote any candidate in the coming elections. The system is so transparent now that every voter is entitled to one vote. We now have the biometric system of registration. And what we will do is to maintain our presence all over the place and we will support the National Electoral Commission and ensure peaceful elections.”
Speaking further, I-G Munu said they cannot do anything “that will undermine the credibility of the elections as we will be equally held liable for any security breach.” He made reference to the existence of electoral laws in the country and “a special court for electoral offences”, but cautioned, that “we are having zero tolerance to politically motivated crimes, while making reference to recent political crimes including, but not limited to the political violence in Bo last year and the incident in which a sitting Member of Parliament was arrested for promoting underage voting during the voter registration process in Sierra Leone. According to Francis Munu, “the police force is not against the opposition parties; breach of the law is what we look out for in our work and not political colors.”
The introduction of community policing policy in Sierra Leone years back was done with the desire to get the involvement of citizens in manning the security of the country. For years, this system of policing was believed to have provided the result needed. When asked therefore what his general expectation from the citizenry are, the Police Chief said, the police force has often been criticized by people, but still called for their continuous support. “We have been criticized for use of weapons but we know there has been an increase in armed robbery and we need to curtail that…the public has most often not been fair with their needs…” Francis Munu promised to make amends where necessary but to “also try to deliver on our agenda.” The force, he said, has been engaged in recent mopping-up activities to crake down on armed robbers but called on the general public “to support us so as to be able to make progress in our work.” He also informed this writer, that they have been able to get more capacity and that there has been series of advocacies “in terms of communications.”
Author’s note: This interview was necessitated following recent development in Sierra Leone, especially at a time that President Koroma has been busy, working towards the growth of the country. It was aimed at getting assurance from the Police Chief in Sierra Leone in terms of state security
By Daily Mail