In Sierra Leone, there are increasing reports of violence at schools, as well as reports of vigilantism, as local residents take the law into their own hands. Sierra Leone is still in the process of rebuilding following a civil war.
Among those raising the alarm about growing violence is Valnora Edwin, country coordinator for the ngo, campaign for good governance. From Freetown, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua first about problems in the country’s schools.
“For the past three to four months, we’ve bee receiving reports where you have school children for very small issues have a riot, like beating up teachers, burning down vehicles,” she says. Student violence, she says, has also been reported on the university level.
As for the vigilantism, Edwin says, “We have heard a few reports of thieves that have been raiding around areas where when they have been caught they have been killed, like two or three instances of that. And it happened within a very short period of time.”
President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah has issued a statement calling on Sierra Leoneans to respect the rule of law and not take matters into their own hands.
Edwin says reports that the school violence was triggered by former child combatants arte unfounded. “What we have come up with,” she says, “is maybe the exposure, the level of violence that we Sierra Leoneans have been exposed to…maybe all of us are sort of traumatized. And since nothing effectively has been done about it, you know, it comes up now and then in these small incidents.”
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