The Sierra Leone Web



Sunday 7 May 2000


Fellow Citizens:

Several times in the past, I have said to you that your Government which you had elected will not allow itself to be taken unawares by any individual or group intent on destroying the lives and property of its citizens. Today, I wish to assure you that our resolve has not waned.

I realise that the events of the past several days have been very traumatic for you all. However, I ask you to have faith in your Government. We have all been extremely disappointed at the way some UNAMSIL troops have capitulated to RUF forces, but we have not yet reached the stage where we believe the UN is incapable of fulfilling its mandate. I have been assured by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General that UNAMSIL is prepared to fully discharge its mandate, including the defence and protection of Freetown.

Up till this point, the Government has refrained from getting directly involved in military action against those who seem bent on derailing the peace process. We still be believe that the implementation of the Lome Peace Agreement is the best way to achieve lasting peace in our country. However, I would like to assure you that Government has an effective contingency plan in place which will be activated in the unlikely event that UNAMSIL is unable to provide adequate security in the face of aggressive action.

Fellow citizens, the unfortunate incident of misinformation that happened last night has no doubt created a lot of confusion in your minds. However, let us not compound the problem by spreading unfounded rumours. This only serves to create unnecessary panic, which is exactly what those who are seeking to destroy our country thrive on. As your elected President, I am committed to serving you and will do all in my power to ensure your safety and security. I therefore urge you all to rely on official Government releases for accurate information. We shall endeavour to keep you well informed.

Finally, I would like to warn all those intent on raining death and destruction on the citizens of this country to desist immediately. Failure to do so will result in dire consequences for the perpetrators. Be assured that I am determined to ensure that the nightmares in our history are not repeated.

I thank you for your attention.