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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Diplomats Condemn Violence & Support COVID-19 Fight in S/Leone

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After recent spate of youth violence in the country and the alleged killing of a number of unarmed prisoners in the capital, the international community has met with President Julius Maada Bio to express their feelings.

Addressing the foreign diplomats at State House and calling on them to help his government fight what he referred to as “terrorism” in the country, President Bio said: “Every state the world over (including the UK, US etc) delegitimizes the use of criminal violence by persons or groups to intimidate the public and upend the rule of law. Where this directly targets state authority and the rule of law, it is declared an act of terrorism against the state. I am sure you will agree that such criminal violence that endangers life and property, public safety, or interferes with the peaceful governance of the state is unacceptable and must be addressed within the confines of the laws of this country.

“Beyond condemnation of such criminal violence against the state and state authority, we expect our partners to cooperate very closely in supporting peace, public safety, and security at all levels and at all times. Investigations have identified members of the All People’s Congress party including a former Member of Parliament of that party as being responsible for incitement and acts of violence. One would expect the APC to condemn and dissociate itself from such persons and their acts. They have yet to do so.”

In response, the diplomats condemned all forms of violence in Sierra Leone and heaped praise on President Bio and his government for their efforts in handling the Coronavirus pandemic.

Resident Coordinator for the United Nations, Sunil Saigal, said they condemn and would continue to condemn all forms of violence in the country, adding that the focus of everyone should be on fighting the COVID-19 and to make sure it does not have a further negative impact on society. He also called on all political parties to refrain from violence of all sorts and support the national efforts in fighting the virus.

Head of European Union Delegation, Tom Vens, commended the president for his engagement a few days ago with leaders of civil society groups, noting that as diplomats they are encouraged by the initiative and leadership shown by the president in creating space for dialogue with CSOs. He said that as development partners – the diplomatic community is against any act of violence or intimidation that is standing in the way of the country moving forward.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Ibrahim Habis Ugbada, acknowledged that the spread of the coronavirus in the country is slower than had been expected, and commended the government for its good work and assured of the international community’s support for the country’s development.

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