Young anti government demonstrators in the northern Koinadugu district say they’ve come under police fire, Umaru Fofona reports.
The district youth leader, Mohamed Marah says “police have just started firing teargas and live rounds at us”.
Incoming reports also states that police have shot dead at least two antigovernment protesters – a high school student and a mobile phone topup seller. Soldiers have also been deployed.
The local police commander Supt Alimamy Bangura would not confirm or deny the deaths but said his house had been set on fire and two of his men injured.
They are protesting against the government’s decision to establish a skills-training Youth Village in another district which they say had been promised them in 2014.
In our earlier report, Mohamed Marah said that the move was “to demonstrate our frustration over the humiliating treatment by President [Ernest] Koroma and his APC party meted out to us over the promised construction of a Youth Village in the district which has now been moved to Tonkolili”.
He said the president had in December 2014 promised them the Village, a vocational institute to train the skills of young people and prepare them for entrepreneurship, with construction work to start in January 2015.
Sources say the police did not authorise the said demonstration and initially used teargas cannisters to disperse the demonstrators.
According to eyewitness accounts, the youths reportedly prevented shops and markets from operating. As the police fired teargas cannisters, the youths reportedly pelted stones and other objects they could lay hands on wounding some of the police.
The thin police personnel who were being overpowered reportedly became irritated as the youths kept advancing towards them. It was st this time that the police reportedly used live bullets shooting and killing the three youths at point blank.
Scores other persons are said to have sustained bullet wounds. The situation is said to be chaotic. The mother of one of the officers involved in the fatal shooting is said to have been lynched.
The Makeni police are said to be on their way to strength the few police personnel on the ground. Police in the region are yet to respond to the incident.