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HomeNationalApril 29th 2020 Prison Massacre: SLPP Govt on ICC Radar in Sierra Leone

April 29th 2020 Prison Massacre: SLPP Govt on ICC Radar in Sierra Leone

April 29th 2020 Prison Massacre: SLPP Govt on ICC Radar in Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led government could well be under the radar of the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the launch of the report of what is now regarded as ‘’Prison Massacre’’ in which armed presidential guards allegedly gunned down 30 inmates and one Prison Officer during the April 29th , 2020 prison riot.

The report, which was released about a week ago, exposes the naked lies of the ruling government which had earlier reported of seven deaths on the said date.

 Hours after the now dubbed ‘’Pademba Road massacre’’ in April, the SLPP government tried to quickly cover-up the actual number of deaths by first claiming three deaths but it was later revealed as seven deaths. The tactics were clearly designed to downplay the gruesome incident which the public believed was a massacre. (Photo: State Security shot live bullets into the prison compound on massacre day as smoke darkens the sky).

Despite government’s efforts to divert attention, the public could not be fooled because it was open knowledge that the real number of fatalities at the prison riot was far higher than what the government information machinery was feeding the public. The riot, which the government described as a ‘Prison Break’ was ostensibly caused by well-armed Presidential Guards and State Security who fired live bullets into the prison compound.

Weeks after the prison massacre, the Sierra Leone government has now claimed that there were thirty-one fatalities including thirty prisoners and a Prison Officer. As a result, Concerned Sierra Leoneans are again calling on President Bio and his government to set a date for a full Independent Public Inquiry into the Pademba Road Prison massacre. Opera News has the details:

Concerned Sierra Leoneans’ Open Letter to President Bio About the Official Report on the Massacre of Prisoners

In our press release dated 4th May 2020, we accentuated our horror and concern over the brutal intervention of heavily armed State House Presidential guards who opened fire on unarmed prisoners and prison guards with assault rifles, in an attempt to quell an alleged ‘Prison Break’ at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre, in Freetown, Sierra Leone, on 29th April 2020. (Photos: Fire engulfed the compound and burned properties inside).

Although rumours abounded that the death toll was in excess of forty, of what many perceived as a ‘Prison Massacre’, the Minister of Information Mohamed Rahman Swarray claimed, on 29th April 2020, that there were only seven fatalities; five prisoners and two prison guards.

Ten weeks after the unfortunate killings at the Pademba Road Correctional Centre, the government now claims there were thirty-one fatalities; thirty prisoners and one prison guard.

These disparities, inconsistencies and somewhat disjointed accounts of the incident by the government of President Julius Maada Bio, has left more questions than answers – prompting us to call for a full Independent Public Inquiry.

In this regard and pursuant to Principle Six of the body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly resolution 43/173 of the 9 December 1988 which states that: “No person under any form of detention or imprisonment shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. No circumstance whatever may be invoked as a justification for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as punishment.”

The people of Sierra Leone deserve to know the truth, so do the families of all those whose lives were brutally cut short on that fateful day, and only a full Independent Public Inquiry led by outside bodies with no special interests in the matter, such as  Amnesty International, UN Human Rights Watch, African Union and other such organisations, will give credence to the findings.

In light of the above, we are, therefore, calling on President Julius Maada Bio and his government to make provisions and set a date for the immediate commencement of a full Independent Public Inquiry. Justice delayed is justice denied.

Hoping to hear from you on the above at your earliest convenience and thanking you in advance for your kind considerations.

Sincerely yours,

Concerned Sierra Leoneans.


  • First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK
  • Minister for Africa, UK
  • Secretary of State for International Development, UK
  • UN Secretary-General
  • Amnesty International, UK
  • ECOWAS President
  • UK High Commissioner, Sierra Leone
  • US Ambassador, Sierra Leone
  • African Union
  • US State Department
  • Her Majesty Opposition Party leader
  • Chairman of the UK Conservative Party
  • Commonwealth Secretariat
  • Speaker of the House of Commons
  • President of the UK Supreme Court
  • European Union
  • Harriet Harman, Chairman of the UK Human Rights Committee, UK Parliament
  • Neil Coyle MP
  • Leaders of the Liberal Democrats
  • First Minister of Scotland
  • First Minister of Wales
  • First Minister of Northern Ireland

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