The Sierra Leone Web



Press Statement by His Excellency Captain Valentine E.M. Strasser,
Chairman of the National Provisional Ruling Council and Head of State on
Tuesday 6th September, 1994


Fellow Sierra Leoneans,

As we enter the 30th month of this country under the rule of the National Provisional Ruling Council I would like to address you about the present security satiation in the country brought about by this senseless war. On the 29th April 1992 I promised this nation that the war would be our main priority and we would try to bring it to a swift end. In that light, Government h as spent over 75% of its financial and material resources to pursue the war. We have, despite all the financial constraints facing this country ensured that the army is provided with state of the art weaponry unprecedented in history, for it to meet the challenges posed by the rebels. We also continue to provide the army with constant financial resources to meet monthly pay obligations, risk allowances, plentiful medical supplies, plentiful rations, uniforms etc.

As a former fighting man, I have thus endeavoured to ensure that all those basic requirements which were denied us at the front are now provided for our troops. I am satisfied that the present arrangements being worked out by my Army Chief of Staff and his headquarters to sort out some of the administrative problems in army finances will also help in easing the welfare needs of our troops.

Within the last two years we were thus able through the gallant efforts of our army to capture all the rebel held towns like Zimmi and Pujehun in the South, Pendembu, Kailahun, Buedu, Koindu and Kono in the east, after which we announced a ceasefire and offered amnesty to all those who were willing to lay down their arms and join us in our reconstruction efforts. Notwithstanding these offers, the war is still going on but in a different manner than it was before.

Recent events have revealed that the present situation is nothing short of banditry, looting, maiming and raping, in short inflicting reckless havoc on innocent civilians, while surviving families and friends of this carnage are being consoled for the loss of their dear ones, others are engaged in perpetrating rumours and making careless statements aimed at causing widespread disaffection and hatred.

In the last couple of weeks, strong rumours and letters have been circulating regarding the intention to carry out sporadic and ferocious attacks on our Army, Travel Agents and Airlines, International and Local Functionaries, by ill disposed persons determined to perpetrate wanton destruction to life and property, particularly in the capital city of Freetown. Rumours have even gone further to indicate that attempts are being made to overthrow the NPRC Government. Let me put you at ease in assuring you that Government is very much ontop in safe-guarding the nation as a whole.

Even through rumour mongering has become a common phenomenon in our society, you will recall that government has taken and continues to take stern measures to put this reckless war behind us. Yet, the canker worms in our society who will stop at nothing to create chaos and confusion, are responsible for spreading these wild and unfounded stories, some of which go to the extent of saying that the Army is insincere in its commitment to end the war.

Due to the prolonged nature of the war and the recent incidents of banditry there is bound to be frustration, but I want to give you my personal assurance as Chairman of the N.P.R.C. and Head of State, that the N.P.R.C. Government is very much concerned about the suffering we are all presently undergoing in pursuing an I.M.F. Structural Adjustment Programme in the face of the ongoing rebel war and efforts shall continue to be made with even more vigour to put an end to this carnage.

It is disheartening through to note that at this time of national suffering, revelations indicate that some ill-motivated and disloyal subjects in our civilian and service population are not free from blame in thwarting the efforts of government to end the present banditry and terrorism, mainly for political and personal financial gains.

We do believe that some renegade soldiers are destroying the confidence the nation has in our fighting forces by engaging in acts of banditry, terrorism and even collusion with the enemy and are harboured by some disloyal and disgruntled civilians who are in support of their unworthy course.

It is also true that some people in our society encourage looting and armed robberies by the very act of buying and storing looted or stolen goods.

Some malcontent civilians even collaborate with some servicemen in making careless statements and spreading rumours that will cause disaffection within the Army and against the Government.

Fellow Sierra Leoneans we should realise at this time that this is not a war against the NPRC but against the state of Sierra Leone. Its end can only thus be brought about through the collective efforts of every Sierra Leonean man, woman and child. As a Government we shall take steps to ensure that the scourge within our society is removed swiftly and finally. Your cooperation in that regard will also be required.

I would also like to inform you that over the weekend, an application for study leave was submitted by a Member of the Supreme Council of State, Captain Komba Kambo, who was Under-Secretary of State in the Department of Defence. Since it is man's inalienable right to further his ambition, I am pleased to inform you that the N.P.R.C. Government has duly approved his application, and that he is still Member of the Supreme Council of State. Captain Tom Nyuma has now been duly appointed to replace him as Under-Secretary of State, Defence. Whilst I welcome our gallant colleague to that office, I take this opportunity to thank Captain Komba Kambo for his dedicated service, and wish him well in his new undertaking.

As Sierra Leone belongs to all of us, I want to urge you to join with the N.P.R.C. Government not to allow ill-motivated, disgruntled and disloyal compatriots to destroy the gains the revolution has already achieved. I want to thank the officers, men and women of the Republic of Sierra Leone Military Forces who have been and continue to be loyal and dedicated in their defence of their motherland. I urge them not to deflect from our resolve to free our country and bring a better life to our people.

From now on, I want the general public to know that it will be an offence if you are found or caught harbouring a soldier who does not possess his authentic document, for being away from his post or unit and stringent action will be taken against all civilians found in possession of military uniforms and equipment.

It will also be a grave offence if any member of the public is found to be in possession of looted and/or stolen goods. I also want to appeal to members of the public to please desist from careless talks, rumour mongering and support the efforts of our servicemen.

The Public Relations Office has been created to give you our people answers to whatever questions or concerns you might have regarding the running of the government or the prosecution of the war. With your total support and resolve, I am confident that the end of the war is near. The N.P.R.C. Government will thus continue to count on you.

I thank you and may God bless us all.