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Surviving the Peace: the danger from within

Surviving the Peace: the danger from within

In Nigerian writer Chinua Achebe’s short story collection, ‘Girls At War’, there is an interesting story, ‘Surviving The Peace’ which shows the difficulties of surviving in post Biafra war Nigeria with armed robbers, and other social misfits threatening the lives of the survivors.

This brings us to the present security situation in Sierra Leone, a country which has also emerged from a war and is also affected by armed robbers, and other security risks.

The recent news that a consignment of military uniforms, boots and other paraphernalia were discovered on board a bus in Bo, en route from Nigeria sends discouraging signals to the people of Sierra Leone concerning the ability of the present government to put the security situation under control.

The Koroma administration continues to manifest a weakness in maintaining the security of the country, as shown by the high spate of armed robbery, and while calls for investors to come to Sierra Leone might be seen as a work in the right direction, this call might well not be heeded with the uncertainty of normal life threatened every night.

Porous borders and the laissez-faire attitude of our security forces continue to manifest a weakness in the country, but which, unfortunately, continues to be downplayed by the authorities.

The question the public wants to know is: why should a consignment of military uniforms, boots and other regalia be smuggled into the country without official knowledge or consent?

Is it the work of organized crime, establishing their presence under the guise of law enforcement officialdom?

Is it the work of some individuals who might have an interest in destabilizing the present government?

Is it the work of the government itself as it tries to make a surreptitious move to bring in uniforms for its supporters in preparation for the next elections?

These are all questions the people want answered but for which there continues to be a resounding silence from the government.

From Kono to Kenema, from Bo to Makeni, from Lunsar to Bonthe, the threat remains that life for the people living in Sierra Leone is still under a perennial threat because of the inability of the government to put the right mechanisms in place.

There is also the silence of the government in informing the people about such threats as shown by the inability of the Koroma administration to make known the outcome of investigations into the impounded military uniforms and the bus where the illegal goods were transported.

There has also not been any explanation as to why the military police team was pulled off from the streets where they had been maintaining road blocks.

Is it because of the allegation that the military and police are also engaged in armed robbery? Is it because there is no money to sustain the security alert? Or, is it because the perpetuators have been able to use their connections in the present government to pull out the security personnel on the streets and allow the robbers leeway to operate?

Bumbuna is a great priority, hosting a donor’s conference might be a step in the right direction, but the existence and reliability of any nation rests in the ability of the security apparatus to maintain the life and property of the citizens and all those residing therein.

In a country where a British investor was gunned down in his residence in close proximity to a police barracks, one will tend to wonder what impact, if any will such a flawed security means to any investor worth his or her salt.

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