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)
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

Lion Cecil's Killing Sparks 'Canned Hunting' Debate in S. Africa

Conservationists believe incident, which triggered worldwide outrage, will reshape debate about practice in which hunters are allowed to target animals bred for hunting More

Environmentalists Issue Warning on Mekong Biodiversity

Scientists say decades of economic development, hydropower-dam construction, lax law enforcement and trafficking have taken their toll More

US Urges Taliban to Stay With Afghan Peace Talks

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death 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.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs