“The foreigners were undergoing a combatant or military training” Police LUC
By Alpha Kamara in New York
About 100 foreign nationals have been arrested in Waterloo, 40 kilometers from the capital Freetown. The foreign nationals who are mostly Guineans who don’t speak English were arrested inside a compound where they were undergoing a combat or military training.
According to the Local Unit Commander of Waterloo police division, LUC Musa Brima Bandabla, they received an intelligence about these foreign nationals weeks ago and kept an eye on them. He said they conducted a thorough surveillance with them and their temporal home, a private gated compound. “We arrested 98 foreigners mostly Guineans (84 men and 14 women) who cannot explain their purpose of visit to Sierra Leone. They have no travelling documents or ID cards. They cannot speak English and said they entered the country by road”, LUC Bandabla said.
He said the foreign nationals were also engaged in combat training. “They were receiving words of command or combatant training. This kind of training is not meant for civilians and hence a major security concern. That’s why we arrested them”, he said.
The LUC said the suspects told police they are in large numbers and some of their colleagues have gone out of town. Bandabla added that, the suspects will be investigated further to know their motives. “We will transfer the 98 arrested to Freetown for further interrogation because all their activities are suspicious. “If they are connected with any criminal activity, they will be kicked out of the country”, he added.
William Faya Sellu of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Sierra Leone police told DW News that their initial investigations suggests the foreigners are victims of fraudsters of a wider criminal network based in Hong Kong. “Our investigation reveals they are victims of a criminal network called QUNET based in Hong Kong. We will continue investigating them before we come to a final conclusion”, he said.
Faya Sellu also added that, under the ECOWAS free movement agreement, every West African national is free to live in any ECOWAS country. But he/she should not involve in any criminal activity. Meanwhile, some Sierra Leoneans are not happy with the development. “Looking at the country’s past history, hearing news of foreigners undergoing a militia training in our country is troubling. We don’t want any situation that will disturb our peace we are enjoying or to go back to the past”, a Freetown resident told Claudia Anthony of DW News.