President Bio Warns: ‘Any act of violence will be dealt with harshly’ By Ibrahim Tarawallie
President Bio……ready to curb lawlessness and indiscipline
President Julius Maada has vowed to deal harshly with those fermenting and perpetrating violence in the country.
For the past two weeks, there has been increase spate of violent attacks, targeted at state and private individuals. Such attacks resulted in the loss of lives with several injuries, as well as damages to private and public properties.
In a televised addressed to the nation, the president said: “Those who incites, plans, supports, undertakes, or involved in any manner of violence will be dealt with harshly. We will use all instruments of state power and resources permissible under the laws of the country to deal firmly and decisively with these violent terrorist attacks against the state.”
He said citizens have an obligation to obey law and order, adding that those who are with the conviction that by fomenting trouble and inciting violence in the country, they can derail and distract the government from fighting corruption, attract investors, and meeting its promise to deliver development, now know that they will lose the fight.
“My Government has been closely following events of the last few weeks. The security sector has closely analyzed the prime movers, financiers, causes, nature, and patterns of violent acts. Our responses are therefore well-informed. The rule of law is supreme. No citizen, absolutely no citizen, is above the law,” he said.
As Commander-in-Chief, President Bio said for each of the attacks at Lunsar, Foredugu, Tombo, and the attempted prison break at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre, known agents and associates of the All People’s Congress (APC) party have publicly predicted the precise date, target, and nature of the attacks.
According to him, evidence emerging from investigations has named known local leaders and members of the APC as being responsible for inciting, planning, financing, mobilizing, and in some cases actively participating in violent terrorist attacks against the people of this country
He stated that he has ordered the intelligence and security forces to use all available resources, and take all measures necessary within the laws of the country to deal promptly, decisively, and robustly with all acts of violence against the state.
The president noted that incitement to extreme criminal violence, arson, murder and attempted murder, other felonious acts targeting the state, state officials, public officials, private citizens, and public and private persons are not peaceful political actions meant to foster peace in Sierra Leone.
“There is an obvious pattern. These attacks are therefore premeditated, orchestrated, and executed with a clear objective – to make the state ungovernable,” he noted.
He said the silence of the national APC leadership on the active participation of their members and executive members in these acts of terrorist violence, senseless loss of lives, injuries and wanton destruction of public and personal property is truly disconcerting.
“And let us be very clear, fellow citizens. The actions of these persons are not peaceful political expressions as one expects in a democracy. Their actions are carefully planned, coordinated, well-orchestrated and executed acts of violent terrorism targeting the state, state officials, public buildings, and private persons and property.”
According to him, even though the right to free speech is guaranteed in the country’s democracy and constitution, no democracy guarantees a right to speech that incites criminal violence, foments hate and divisiveness, causes public disorder, and threatens the security and stability of the state.
“As President, I have reached out to all Sierra Leoneans to work together to make this country a peaceful place for all of us. I dispatched the Honourable Vice President to former President Ernest Bai Koroma to initiate dialogue on fostering peace and resolving the acrimony of division. I followed that with a personal invitation of the entire leadership of the All People’s Congress party to State House, (including former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma), to discuss the way forward for a peaceful and united Sierra Leone,” President said.