Violence yesterday erupted in northern Sierra Leone following attempts by government to quash what was expected to be a peaceful demonstration.
At least two anti-government protesters – a high school student and a mobile phone seller were shot by police. Reports by Mustapha Wai of Mamba TV disclosed that, youths in Kabala protested on Tuesday morning in response to decisions by the Sierra Leonean Government to relocate a proposed youth village from Kabala to Mile 91, Tonkolili District. Kabala is located in Koinadugu District.
The report said, contrary to what President Ernest Bai Koroma had promised the youths of Kabala during his second bid for office, the current vice president, Victor Foh is reported to have made a public statement this week about the change in location of the youth village.
Mustapha Wai also quoted two local radio journalists, both of whom requests to remain anonymous as saying that, request by the youth for a permit to carry out a peaceful protest was denied.
Following the shooting of three people, the residence of the local police commander, Supt. Alimamy Bangura and the ruling All People’s Congress, APC, party office were set reportedly ablaze. The city of Kabala has been placed under curfew.
Over the weekend, the diaspora branch of the APC concluded what was referred to as a successful convention in New Jersey. Members of APC came from across the US to elect a new head of the ruling political party in the diaspora.
Some diaspora Sierra Leoneans have blamed the government for the violence and killing of the youths. Some of the blames steam from the fact that the president hails from Tonkolili District.