“We give Le 20 million to each of their families” Government
By Alpha Kamara-Washington D.C.
Twenty-seven (27) civilians killed by Sierra Leone security forces have today been buried by the government outside Freetown. The August 10 protest was organized by civilians to show their dissatisfaction over gross human rights violations, high cost of living and the government’s poor management of the economy.
Some of the protesters mostly youths were angry and violent. The government called them terrorists and insurgents. That prompted a massive response from the security forces, causing the deaths of 27 civilians and 6 police officers in Freetown and the North.
The six police officers killed were given a state funeral last month with one hundred million leones (about $ 9,500) compensation to their families. But the civilian casualties were never handed over to their families by the government.
The government in a press release said it is providing twenty million (20,000)/less that’s less than $ 2,000 to bereaved families of each of the victims to help them with bereavement rites. Lansana Dumbuya, a lawyer for the families of some of the victims tweeted. “No amount of money is commensurate to Evangelist Samson’s life. So, for the government to give Le 20 million without handing over his corpse to the family despite several requests from their solicitor is totally unacceptable”
Opposition Member of Parliament Abdul Kargbo also wrote “I Just leant that the Ministry of Internal Affairs intends to bury the corpse of our late comrade Evangelist Samson. The relatives have already identified the corpse. Its imperative on government to hand over all corpses that have been identified. Allow our people to bury their dead”.
The two were referring to Evangelist Samson an opposition social media activist killed by the Sierra Leone military in the Northern city of Makeni few days after the protest. The police press release on the incident said he refused arrest and died in cross fire.
No police officer, military or government personnel has been held accountable for the deaths of the 27 people. But civilians suspected of having a hand in the killing of the police personnel have been sent to jail while some tortured in detention.