AYV News April 12, 2023
Police investigators have arrested thirty-one suspects following the alleged killing of Operation and Supports Department’s (OSD) North-East Regional Coordinator, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mathew Moiwah Gbanya on Saturday 8th April 2023.
North-East Regional Commander of the Sierra Leone Police, Assistant Inspector General (AIG), Sahr Yonka Senesie said the arrested suspects, including 3 women and 28 men, are currently in police custody helping in investigations.
AIG Senesie urged the public to go about their normal businesses and appeal for a public corporation in the ongoing investigations on the matter.
ASP Gbanya was reportedly shot dead by an unknown assailant on Saturday night and his death was confirmed by North-East Police Spokesman, Sgt John Abass.
His death has since attracted reactions from various civil and non-civil societies including the Police, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), the All People’s Congress (APC), the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Former Minister of Social Welfare, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden and ACC Commissioner, Francis Ben Kaifala, among others.
The United States and the United Kingdom embassies in Sierra Leone have also joined the condemnation of the killing of ASP Gbanya.
In a separate statement on Monday, both embassies condemned the act while calling for sustained peace in Sierra Leone.
“As Easter Monday comes to a close, our thoughts are with family, friends and colleagues of ASP Mathew Moiwah Gbanya”, the UK Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Lisa Chesney wrote in a Tweet adding that “Taking a life is never justified. We welcome the Police investigation; the condemnation of this act across; and the commitment to protect hard-won peace.”
In the same vein, the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone, David Reimer said he is distressed and saddened by the weekend killing of ASP Gbanya.
“We strongly condemn violence in every instance. Our condolences go out to the family, friends and colleagues of ASP Gbanya.” David Reimer said.
Also, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) said the Party believes such a brutal murder was premeditated and unjustifiable, while extending its profound condolences to the family of the slain officer and the entire Sierra Leone Police.
The Party’s National Secretary General, Umaru Napoleon Koroma said: “The SLPP strongly condemns this dastardly act which has the potential not only to undermine the trust between Police Officers and citizens but also create heightened tension in Makeni.
“We support the Sierra Leone Police which has launched a full-scale investigation into the said incident, with the view to identifying not only the perpetrators but also to determine the motive behind this targeted killing.”
The All-People’s Congress (APC) condemned the killing of ASP Gbanya.
The Party’s National Secretary General, Lansana Dumbuya said: “The APC believed that the killing of the police officer is a threat to the country’s peace and security, particularly in the run-up to the critical June 24 presidential and general elections”.
The Party then urged Sierra Leoneans, state and non-state actors to maintain the peace and tranquility the country is enjoying at all times.
Makeni is a known strong hold of the APC and has been the battleground for recent political unrest.
Until his death, ASP Gbanya was the OSD Regional Coordinator in the North. He was well known in Makeni and its environs for his strong physical appearance and firmness in executing raids, quelling standoff and ensuring law and order is maintained.
Other reports say local leaders have also called to condemn the killing and extended condolences to the families of the fallen officer, while calling for action to be taken.
The Saturday incident is reported to have affected the ongoing collection of voters’ ID cards in the city of Makeni, as some centers in the epicenter did not open and some of those that did outside the surroundings of the crime scene had no one showing up.