The Bravery Of Our Loyal Security Forces
By Mohamed Sheriff, Switzerland
All patriotic Sierra Leoneans, at home and abroad, must applaud the dynamism and bravery of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces for the effective response to the unfortunate security breach in the early hours of Sunday 26th November 2023, when a group of renegade individuals attacked the military armoury at Wilberforce, Cockerill, Murray Town. The thugs next attacked the Male and Female Correctional Centres, freeing the inmates. The security forces of the Sierra Leone government engaged the renegade group in a battle to uphold constitutional order after that huge security breach, which the government has now characterized as an attempted coup.
It was evident that our loyal soldiers learnt lessons from the August 10, 2022, and the Pademba Road Prison break which took the lives of civilians and police officers after sections of the opposition called to unseat the democratically elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Dr Julius Maada Bio, saying "Maada Most Go". The military didn't want to see a repeat of the loss of lives, a position that is close to the heart of the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces.
A soldier is always a soldier. That phrase was exhibited on the return of President Julius Maada Bio on Saturday after a successful Consultative Summit at the African Union (AU) in his capacity as Coordinator of the AU Committee of Ten (C-10) Heads of State and Government on the reform of the United Nations Security Council in Oyala, Equatorial Guinea. It was a total surprise to the renegade group, who were of the opinion that President Bio was away. As Commander In-Chief, President Bio drew upon his military expertise and his international peace experience to stabilise and uphold the priceless peace the country has enjoyed.
In his recent national address President Bio urged all Sierra Leoneans to unite and continue to protect the peace and security of the nation against the forces that wish to truncate our much-cherished stability.
Many diplomats and international organizations were expecting political parties and civil society to immediately condemn in the strongest terms the attack on the state just like what the United States Embassy in Freetown, the United Kingdom, the European Union, ECOWAS, and other international partners did in solidarity, in expressing their commitment to democracy and the rule of law.
It's difficult to understand how some elite sometimes think of national security issues. At this crucial time, some are blaming the security sector while doing nothing whatsoever to support the ongoing efforts to pursue the assailants who were bent on throwing the nation into turmoil.
The key question going forward following such a horrific attack remains: What was the response of the security forces? It is not about the failure of intelligence. It is about the swift response of our brave armed forces in the face of that deadly assault that saw the assailants flew out of the city, allowing Freetown to continue to enjoy calmness. The loyal security forces prevented the assailants from taking over the democratically elected government of President Julius Maada Bio.
Have we forgotten the eleven years civil war where our gallant and brave forces were brutally murdered, several thousands of civilians killed, and infrastructure and properties destroyed?
Have we forgotten the role our security forces played during the Ebola epidemic, Mudslide, COVID-19 pandemic, and in other internal and external threats? We have a moral obligation to always remember the sacrifices of our forces.
Today, people are going on TV and Radio programmes to be interviewed as guests because of the peace that the bravery of the security forces ensured in the protection of the state. We must appreciate and celebrate the security forces by all means and condemn those who took oath to faithfully defend the state but failed. We must rethink to build our beloved nation as one people.
We must now pray to Allah for the souls of the gallant men and women in uniform who have died and hospitalized in the defence of Sierra Leone on that horrible day.
Sierra Leone is making significant efforts in moving forward the Constitutional Review process, strengthening the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone, Independent Commission for Peace and National Cohesion, undertaking comprehensive Justice Sector and Land Rights Reforms, Women Empowerment, has abolished the Death Penalty, repealed the Criminal Libel Law among others, all important steps to improve on the country's democratic tenets.
We must join hands to support Government’s BIG FIVE GAME CHANGERS as National Priorities for the overall sustainable economic growth and development of our people.