Bumbuna Report Shows Police Highhandedness in Sierra Leone
Over the ongoing Human Rights Probity involving violation of human rights featuring industrial strike action of African Mineral Workers (AML) earlier this year, on Wednesday September 26th journalists were called to a press conference at Tower Hill, Freetown, were the Sierra Leone Police were indicted for violation of human rights.
Commissioner Brima Keddie, who also happened to be President of the report, gave an overview, in Accordance with section 7 (2)( a)of the Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Act 204 and section 24 of the Complaint, Investigations and Inquiries Rules 2008 , says the commission has the right to investigate the violence to avoid recurrence. He said the terms of reference for the public hearing was to investigate the alleged gross human rights violation that occurred in Bumbuna in view to understanding their nature, causes and scale them by identifying those individuals or institutions responsible.
The Commissioner disclosed that forty witnesses testified, including four woman, government ministers, ten members of the Sierra Leone Police including the Inspector General of Police Francis Allieu Munu, he pointed out that two important persons Alie D Kamara , Resident Minister North and Alhaji Minkailu Mansaray Minister of Mines and Mineral Resources, neither attended the public hearing nor did they submit any document or reason for failing to honor the Commission’s request to testify presenting the report.
Action Chairman of the Commission, Jamesina King said the findings of the report were reached on balance readabilities as provided for under rules 25 of the Sierra Leone complaint, investigation and inquiries rules, 2008 Mrs. King said the evidence received by the inquiry was subjected to verification through the questioning of witnesses under rule 51. She also said that under rule 52 (4) all submissions or representations made to the commission were sent to all named interested persons for their review and that the police over reacted to the protest action by African Minerals (SL) Ltd (AML) and used disproportionate force, including live ammunition, resulting in the death of one Musa Conteh, a young lady who worked for AML; wounding of eight others of whom were beaten and other forms of manhandling. The inquiry found evidence to confirm the allegation that three other persons were killed and their bodies dumped in the river. The violence on the 17th and 18th of April 2012 led to the temporary displacement of some people to other villages and towns outside Bumbuna; the police subjected the women of Bumbuna to sexual and gender based violence (SGBV) in the form of verbal abuse, physical, and psychological violence.
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