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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs