''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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Friday March 16, 2012 - That arms importation - getting ready for extreme violence and political intimidation ahead of November polls. Ernest Bai Koroma playing out the APC tactics that got the opposition cowered in the past with many "unopposed" APC candidates gleefully announced over national radio.Police Chief Francis Munu has now received his weapons for intimidating the opposition.

We have been taking a good look at the inventory of the war weapons that have been brought in to equip the armed wing of the APC party - the ISU, SSD and now tagged the OSD. The names and acronyms might look and sound different, but it is the same outfit that should have been disbanded with those fit enough absorbed into the regular police force and the rest disarmed and re-trained in other useful and non-violent contributions to national development.This is a type of the under barrel grenade firing AK-47 rifle. A war weapon not normally used in police crowd control.

Our investigations clearly point to the fact that these weapons are meant for war and hence should be a part of the military arsenal not the police whose armed wing, the OSD is a creation of the APC of Siaka Stevens and which has always been used for the protection of that party.

The military is the body, the state structure that has the know-how and capability of storing and using those weapons in the event of any threat from outside the country or indeed within Sierra Leone should we refuse to learn from the lessons of history. That the police could have been the recipient of such a large consignment of military hardware instead of the military speaks volumes about the extent to which the desperate and violence-encouraging smoke and mirrors President would want to have "his second term" so he can finish off his job of completely emptying state coffers while siphoning off illegally acquired funds obtained from any number of "investors" in deals that will see these "investors" being offered exploitation rights ranging from fifty to ninety nine years!!!!

Fancy this and for which we need an explanation from the government in a country whose President then, one Ahmed Tejan Kabbah had declared some ten years ago that the devastating ten-year war was over.

1. 50 PKM heavy machine guns, 7.62X54mm at nearly $17,000 each for a price of nearly $1 million dollars.
2. 100,000 rounds of ammunition for the heavy machine guns at a price of $180,000.
3. 100 RPK light machine guns, 7.62X39mm at a total price of $345,000
4. 20,000 rounds of light machine gun rounds at over $20,000
5. 100 40mm under-barrel grenade launchers for AK 47 with a range of 300 meters at nearly $100,000.
6. 2,500 advanced new stock AK 47 assault rifles 7.62X39mm for a price of almost $3 million.
7. 225,000 rounds of 7.62X39mm ammunition for the price of nearly $150,000,
8. 200 9mm automatic pistols (NP 18 which is the Chinese type of FN Browning manufactured by Norinco Arms Corporation) for the price of $74,000.
9. 50,000 brass case rounds of 9mm pistol ammunition for a price of $17,500.

There are three sets of weapons of terror and intimidation here - never mind the calibre of the bullets which range from 7.62x54mm to 7.62x39mm. These are the Chinese PKM heavy machine guns (Type 80 weapon), the 40mm under the barrel grenade launchers and the 9mm NP-18 Browning-inspired recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol with 10-round magazines.

Knowing the APC, key party members, government ministers and their "bodyguards" would now be scheduled for firing practices either at the police shooting range at King Tom or Hastings or the military range at Benguema one of the country's top military training centres.

Given the fact that this special delivery was for the police and received by that force, it would not be far-fetched to assume that training in the firing of the heavy machine guns and other machine guns would have to be carried out by the military more so as this is the first time that such weapons, including the under barrel grenade launchers are becoming a part of police arms and ammunition. And this in a country that is not at war but is getting ready for crucial elections under a regime that does not think twice of the repercussions of unleashing extreme and unbridled violence on perceived opponents.The Type 80 heavy machine gun ordered for police use by the Ernest Bai Koroma government. You do not use this weapon for police law and order operations. It is a war weapon.

Former APC Youth League members, some now in their sixties would recall how effective the carrying of pistols was in the general atmosphere of intimidation that prevailed in the APC regimes of Stevens and Momoh and it was not uncommon to see the briefcase of ministers containing such pistols, this despite the Special Branch police officers attached to them as bodyguards.

The importation of these arms should be a real cause for concern given the Ernest Bai Koroma's government track record of always rounding up and charging to court members of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party, the SLPP whenever there are reported clashes between the two - the ruling APC and the main opposition SLPP parties.

Even when it was quite clear to eye witnesses that ruling party thugs and police did the attacks on the opposition as they did at their headquarters in 2009, it was always without any shame that the country would see the opposition charged to court.

Yes - under the Ernest Bai Koroma government, this is what they see as the basics of democracy. Overturn the rule of law, send a message to APC party thugs that they are above the law and if by chance taken to court would walk out free - that is if the nolle prosequi card had not already been played to free the government and APC party-sposored hoodlums.

As we have often stated and will again advise - Ernest Bai Koroma in his desperation for a second term at whatever cost is warned - should he be the architect of plans to destabilise and create chaos in a country that is trying to rebuild after a decade-long brutal war - then he and his thugs passing off as APC party officials and state functionaries must be held to account and punished accordingly.The Chinese-made Norinco-18 10-bullet magazine pistol ordered by the Ernest Bai Koroma government

It is worth recalling that the United Nations Security Council in a resolution on 29th September 2010 (Resolution 1940) lifted the arms embargo on Sierra Leone which had been in place for more than 12 years.

This came about because of the report of the UNIPSIL representative then for Sierra Leone who among other things informed the Security Council that the government of Sierra Leone was now in control of all parts of the territory of Sierra Leone - a situation that had been carefully studied by the international community ever since President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah declared in 2002 that - "di wah don don" - the war is over.

"In a unanimously adopted resolution, the 15-member body recalled its readiness to terminate the measures "once the control of the Government of Sierra Leone has been fully re-established over all its territory, and when all non-governmental forces have been disarmed and demobilized."

This decision, it must be recalled is predicated upon the government of Ernest Bai Koroma government behaving itself as a truly democratic government committed to, among others,

"the implementation of the April 2, 2009 Joint Communique by the political parties and their contribution towards a sustained cessation of the political violence in Sierra Leone and calling upon all political parties to continue to adhere to its provisions and ensure its full implementation....

....Calls upon the Government of Sierra Leone, with the support of UNIPSIL, development partners and other stakeholders to continue good governance reform by supporting the Anti-Corruption Commission to increase the transparency and management of Sierra Leone’s natural and mineral resources for the benefit of all Sierra Leoneans and mitigating the risk of resource based conflict.....

....Urges the Government to accelerate the promotion of national unity and reconciliation;

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1941 of 2010.


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