It has been revealed that the sad and unfortunate incident which occurred within the Mile 91 axis, Northern Sierra Leone, where during a raid by armed Soldiers and Police Personnel a 29 year old youth was shot dead ,may not be conclusively investigated within the 21 days ultimatum that a consortium of Civil Society Organisations on Good Governance, Human Rights and Democracy gave for a report to come out on the said saga and ultimately lay the basis for bringing the perpetrator (s) to book.
This disclosure was made by the Public Relations Officer of the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) on local radio and television stations. He further disclosed that for certain cases it sometimes takes longer to get all the evidences together before making an arrest and proffer charges.
It could be recalled that on the 9 September 2018 two villages at Mile 91 Matebo and Masengheh were raided in the early hours by soldiers and police belonging to the Transnational Organized Crime Unit (TOCU), who were armed to the teeth, on the pretext of searching and destroying cannabis sativa/ marijuana farms .
It was alleged that the residents of the two aforementioned villages were rudely awaken and subjected to terrow. Their properties were said to have been impounded including motor bikes and 37 residents arrested. It was again alleged that there were cases of rape.
This medium learnt that before the raid was mounted the Office of National Security (ONS) under the Office of the President during its usual briefing to the President on security issues at State House made mention of the planned operation code named “Operation Green Storm”.
Relatedly, a Senior ONS official, Francis Languba Keili stated on one of the country’s radio stations that the Police were during the impasse overwhelmed by irate youths in the two villages claiming that some among the latter were carrying shot guns insinuating how there could be a possibility of misfiring not clearly defining whether in del defense or otherwise.
Surprisingly the Local Unit Commander (LUC) at Mile 91 was not informed prior to the Operation but in the wake of the incident he was at first suspended and consequently sacked.
However, members of the Civil Society consortium in a recent Press Release strongly stated that after the 21 days ultimatum if nothing tangible transpires with regards a conclusive investigation and report they will be left with no option but to resort to a nationwide protest to tell the whole world that Police highhandedness and human rights violations will no longer be condoned or tolerated.
They maintained that with clearance or no Police clearance after the 21 days ultimatum with no report on the said matter they will still go ahead with the proposed protest. For now it is a wait and see situation anyway!
According to a seasoned retired Police Officer to investigate a case of such a nature should not take long given the fact that the bullet used against the deceased could be easily identified to know whether it was from the Police side or the alleged shot gun holders.
However, another school of thought has opined that with over 100 armed personnel comprising soldiers and police officers it will be very difficult to really know who actually fired the shot that resulted into the death of the 29 year old youth.
What many are currently looking forward to is a speedy treatment of the matter in order to ensure that justice is meted out.
Investigation into the matter continues!