Military detonate unexploded bombs in remote Kissi chiefdoms
Ongoing efforts of the Sierra Leone Government of H.E. President Ernest Koroma, to restore the country away from vestiges of the rebel war, include the safe and professional removal of “unexploded ordinance of war” which are bombs, explosives and land-mines planted or launched during the years of civil war. The latest of such exercises conducted were between 28th to 30th April 2017 in the Kissi chiefdoms of Kailahun and were all done safely and professionally as witnessed by officials of the Government ministry responsible for Social Welfare of citizens.
A team from the Army Engineering Unit led by the unit’s gallant commander, Colonel A.B.S. Bah explained to stakeholders in the chiefdoms that the main essence of their visit to the Kissi area was to safely explode bombs planted or launched during the erstwhile RUF civil war era. It is well documented that the Kissi area was not only amongst the most devastated by the war but was also the area where armed combatants last agreed to disarm.
Fifteen years after the war ended, the Kissi chiefdoms are still amongst the most deprived areas of Sierra Leone and with a number of bombs and explosives lying around, unexploded.
The Engineering Commander, Col. Bah called these abandoned items to be Explosive Remnants/Unexploded Ordinances of the War as it is referred to in the Military. Colonel Bah said during the war different people and different forces used different weapons and not all of these explosives were exploded during the war.
These may pose serious threats and cause harm and injury to inhabitants and citizens living around the vicinity. There have been incidents where bombs have exploded around children playing in Kailahun district. To secure those parts is why the robust detonation military exercise was undertaken.
Senior Social Services Officer in Eastern Region Mr. Simeon Sandi witnessed the safe and professional detonation. At the end of the exercises, he explained to the Kissi Bendu radio station that anything which had to do with welfare of communities draws the concerns of the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender & Children’s Affairs. He said the current Minister Hon. Dr. Sylvia Blyden was passionate about social protection of remote rural communities of Sierra Leone.
Mr. Sandi said therefore the activity of the military to clear unexploded remnants was in line with ongoing efforts aimed at reviving the socio economic state of rural communities especially the three Kissi chiefdoms.
“These unexploded bombs were also a threat to safety of our precious Women and children so as a ministry, I must say we are very grateful to the Chief of Defence Staff for this detonation. Together, we all will make Kissi chiefdoms be safe again,” Mr. Sandi assured.
Bombs were safely detonated in several locations and of varying characters. They included small landmines as well as giant Surface to Air Missiles.
Meanwhile, Colonel Bah said they safely exploded at least 30 bombs around the environs of Buedu town Kissi Tongi Chiefdom before coming to Koindu in the Kissi Teng Chiefdom.
In Kissi Teng, unexploded bombs were discovered in villages and other places including within the compound of the Koindu Town Community Centre. The bomb in that centre has been lying there behind a tree since the war ended in 2002, some fifteen years ago. It was safely detonated and the entire environs swiped clean before Colonel Bah and his team drove back out of those remote chiefdoms heading back to Freetown via Daru barracks.
MSWGCA says Bravo to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Force (RSLAF) for helping to secure our citizens’ welfare. Our country should never lose sight of the very high importance of the existence of the RSLAF.
MSWGCA in Kissi Teng, Kailahun
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