News / Africa

Sierra Leone Boosts Security After Kenya Attacks

Increased security on George Street near police headquarters, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Oct. 3,  2013. (N. deVries/VOA)
Increased security on George Street near police headquarters, Freetown, Sierra Leone, Oct. 3, 2013. (N. deVries/VOA)
TEXT SIZE - +
— The attack on Kenya's Westgate mall, where at least 67 people died, is having an effect in other African countries. 

The militant group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the attack and the al-Qaida-linked group has previously threatened other countries who have troops in Somalia, including Sierra Leone, prompting the government to boost security.

The streets of Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, are always bustling with people, cars and motor bikes. But government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay says there is one big change -- increased security.

"There are certain areas we have restricted, like George street where we have the Sierra Leone police, the Ministry of Finance, the vicinity around the Bank of Sierra Leone, and military and police installations," he said.

Bayraytay says that although al-Shabab's threat to Sierra Leone was made last April, the government is not taking anything lightly.

"We have strengthened our borders. We have a lot of intelligence personnel on the ground, all the over country and we do not want to take chances," he said. "But details would be limited because we do not want to compromise the work of our security agents."

Still, many people in Sierra Leone are worried about a domestic attack.

Bonet Sesay, a single mother of two small children, says she is worried about their safety.  She says her whole family is concerned.  Her mother, who usually sells food at a busy, local market, is now avoiding it.

"We saw what happened in Nairobi. Maybe they can do the same thing in [Sierra Leone]," she said.  "So my mother is scared and doesn't want to be where there are so many crowds. And me too, I don't want to be there, where's there's so many crowd."

James Sesay, no relation to Bonet Sesay, is a store owner in Freetown.  He says that since the incident in Kenya and the talk of more threats from al-Shabab, business has slowed down for him.

Sesay says although the civil war in Sierra Leone ended 10 years ago, people still remember the horrific atrocities many people suffered.  He does not want to think about any kind of major violence coming back to his country.

"I know about the war, I've seen it I've tasted it, I don't want it to repeat again," he said.

Authorities say everything is under control. 

Francis Munu, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone police force, says people should not be alarmed. He says anyone deemed suspicious will be investigated.  Munu says this past weekend, seven Pakistani suspects were arrested.

'We've been interrogating them, we found they are no security threat so we released them pending further investigations," he said.

He adds police will be monitoring hotels, guest houses and other places where visitors normally go, to ensure they keep track of everyone.

As for pulling out the troops in Somalia, government spokesman Bayraytay says Sierra Leone has no plans to do so. Troops from all over the world came to Sierra Leone's aid when the country was going through its civil war.  Now, he says, this is a chance for Sierra Leone to help another country.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Alusine H. Kamar from: USA
October 08, 2013 10:09 PM
The Sierra Leonean public needs not fear a thing. Lessons learnt during the civil can apply here and now to prevent or foil any terrorist plans. During the civil war, what helped the rebels mostly was "the culture of not your business" we saw the damages silence causes us. Now we have to make one person's business to every man's business. In the Us, it's " say some thing if you see some thing" Talk to authorities even if your suspicion prove to be false, get the police notified. Terrorist don't go to strange places they are cowards and if every one decides to keep an eye open, trust me, the terrorist will be stuck. My suggestion is for authorities to engage the prayer places for public education and awareness raising campaigns. God bless the land that we love. "OUR SIERRA LEONE" !!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid