''All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing'' - Edmund Burke


S I E R R A  H E R A L D

Vol 9 No 5

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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Presenter - There's some confusion over a consignment of weapons imported for use by a paramilitary police force in Sierra Leone. The issue was raised at the UN by its outgoing representative for the country Michael Schulenburg last week. He'd been forced to leave Sierra Leone before his term was up.The SLPP Presidential candidate Rtd Brigadier Julius Maada Bio - describes Musa Tarawallie's statement as abhorrent.

In a report, he questioned why, ahead of elections later this year, the government has spent millions of dollars on heavy machine guns and even grenade launchers.

The Inspector-General of Police told the BBC in an interview that in fact the weapons were meant for general security and not necessarily the elections, but his boss, the Minister of Internal Affairs said something on a local radio station today that seems to contradict that.

Here's our reporter Umaru Fofana to tell us more from Freetown

As he's saying that experience is the best teacher Minister of Internal Affairs Musa Tarawallie told the local Radio Democracy that his government would not be caught off guard by people he referred to as coup plotters in the opposition SLPP party. This is part of what he said

“Those who illegally overthrew the All Peoples Congress government in 1992 have succeeded in taking over the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party.

This time under the cloak of democracy - and in life, you have to be looking at precedents - events that occurred and prepare yourself so that you are not overtaken. The government at the time was very weak so they were overthrown by junior officers. The equipment we have brought into the country for the police is to resist any eventuality. Let us go back to the 1992 coup."

His statement runs in sharp contrast to what the Head of the Police Francis Munu had given as reason for the heavy weaponry for his force.

“These are meant to provide static security guards at very vulnerable points – you know – such as residences of foreign diplomats. You know with the global threat of terrorism, occasionally, we are asked to step up security at various embassies depending on how threatened they feel. “

The opposition SLPP party have insisted that the weapons which were brought into the country in January are meant to arm the police to brutally suppress them as the country approaches Presidential and Legislative elections later this year. Their Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio was one of the coup plotters of 1992 who later became the junta leader.

Speaking to the BBC Bio reacted angrily to the statement this morning by the Internal Affairs minister.Ernest Bai Koroma's terror campaign organiser - he has been mentioned in cases involving extreme violence against political enemies. Protected by President Koroma.

"Well I find it to be completely preposterous because I believe that as Minister of Internal Affairs he should be taking care of internal security for this country. But to claim that we, the leadership of the SLPP, are coming from the NPRC and therefore he should be prepared to take care of us, I think I find that completely abhorrent and I think it runs against the grain of democratic tenets and also the sort of security situation we are trying to create in this country.

Umaru – Are you also basically prepared for a fight, you as a candidate and your party?

No – we are a peaceful party. We have invested so much in the peace that we enjoy today and we are going to do everything to resist any attempt by anybody to bring about insecurity in this country"

Government is yet to issue a statement on the controversial police arms shipment, which, depending on whom you speak to is the best or the worst thing to happen to the police since the end of the country's civil war some ten years ago.


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