The Sierra Leone Web



Monday 8 May 2000


Fellow Citizens:

In my last address to you on Sunday May 7, I spoke to you about the security situation in the country and the unfortunate incident of misinformation which had created panic in the country. Since then, there have been further developments that have compelled me to address you today.

As you are all aware, Parliamentarians and Civil Society groups organised a demonstration today to appeal to the RUF to give peace a chance in Sierra Leone. During the demonstration, large crowds marched to the residence of Cpl. Foday Sankoh. Unfortunately, what was planned as a march for peace and democracy ended up in a tragic loss of life and injury to some civilians. Government deplores the killing of innocent and unarmed civilians by RUF rebels stationed at Cpl. Sankoh's residence. On behalf of the Government and people of Sierra Leone I wish to extend sincere condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives, and others who were injured today. I would like to take this opportunity also to thank the security personnel who eventually brought the situation under control.

As I speak to you, the exact whereabouts of Cpl. Foday Sankoh have not yet been determined. A thorough investigation is however, now being undertaken to determine where he is.

In the light of the purpose of the demonstration today, which was a march for peace and democracy, I appeal to you all to ensure that the lives lost today have not been lost in vain, rather, that they enhance peace and democracy in Sierra Leone. Let us use the deaths as a motivating factor for the observance of the rule of law of our country. I appeal particularly to those engaged in acts of vandalism. looting or commandeering of vehicles, to desist from these acts. The law enforcement agents have been instructed to deal swiftly with any violators of our laws. In this regard, I therefore order all men and women officially bearing arms to report immediately to their official designated locations, and to strictly obey the instructions of their commanders.

I wish to assure you all that Government is watching the security situation in the country very closely, and will continue to work in your interest until peace is finally achieved. We are currently working with UNAMSIL to ensure that the security situation continues to improve. We will keep you informed of developments. Meanwhile, please remember what I said to you in my last broadcast about not listening to or spreading rumours. Listen to government statements that will be issued from time to time.

Be assured that your Government is working for you and will do all that is necessary to ensure your safety and security.

I thank you for your attention.