The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ) has condemned the alleged killing of police officer Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mathew Moiwah Gbanya on 8th April 2023 in the Northern Headquarter town of Makeni.
The Association is also concerned about the safety and security of everybody working and living in the country, as the country heads into public elections on 24th June 2023.
SLAJ said report of such an unlawful alleged killing is totally unacceptable and puts the nation in a state of fear and uncertainty.
“This is a very worrisome situation developing in our country. If police officers become target, then nobody is safe in this country. I am also concerned about the safety and security of journalists covering the elections. We all need a safe and conducive environment to participate freely in the elections,” said SLAJ President, Ahmed Sahid Nasralla.
SLAJ also noted with further concern the report today by the Sierra Leone Police of the alleged shooting of a commercial motorbike rider at Mano Corner, Lumpa, Waterloo. Police found a ‘shotgun, cartridges, super glue, and quantity of face masks’ at the crime scene. There seems to be a proliferation of arms and ammunition in the wrong hands.
SLAJ called on the Sierra Leone Police to swiftly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate the incidents and bring the alleged culprits to answer to the law.
SLAJ equally condemned the spreading of messages of incitement promoting hate, division, and violence, and appeals to the public, especially supporters of political parties and journalists at home and abroad, to refrain from disseminating speculative and unsubstantiated information to a gullible public.
The Sierra Leone Police said it has launched a full-scale investigation into the incident, with the view to identifying not only the alleged perpetrators but also to determine the motive behind this targeted alleged killing.
The police assured that the public will be further briefed as the investigations progress, while on the public to remain calm and to go about their normal lawful business.