As a way of registering heartfelt disappointment over the recent eviction of about three hundred disabled persons by riot police officers, the President for Sierra Leone Union of Persons with Disability, Kabba Frankly Bangura, has complained of police cruelty.
“The Sierra Leone Police (SLP) went overboard with their mandate in the execution of eviction orders supposedly given them by so-called Mayor of Freetown George Herbert Williams,” the disabled President furiously said.
At a press briefing held Friday 13th, at the head office of persons with disabilities at Fort Street Freetown, it was however disclosed that the police acted tyrannically against disabled persons occupying a private residence at No.15 Ecowas Street.
“As a union,” the President of the disabled said, “we regret the rough treatment by police officers against defenseless disabled persons.”
He disclosed that the building in question is completely dilapidated and for long been abandoned by it owners, who up until now are unidentified.
It could be recalled that the house used to shelter three hundred or more disabled persons and has been providing a platform for skills training and income generating activities for them over the years.
He asserted that, throughout the occupation there was little negotiation offered by City Council, and the police subjected the youths to ongoing threats of violent removal, harassment and intimidation and that since that time, the youths have issued demands to the government and held meetings with the President of Sierra Leone to provide alternative accommodation and held a series of advocacy discussions for a solution to the matter, to no avail.
He furthered that the police took on their own to evicting hundreds of defenseless disabled persons regardless of fact that the court is yet to determine the rightful owner of what is termed as a disputed property.
Facts have it that the eviction of vulnerable disable persons was machinated by the Mayor of the municipality of Freetown, His Lordship Herbert George Williams,” President Franklyn emphasized.
Adds “It is shaming though that the Freetown City Council in conspiracy with the police could unleash brutally on powerless disabled youths.”
In his path, the Chairman Handicap Youth Development Association (HYDA), Mohamed Alicious Kamara said that the police fired 15 grenade canisters (tear gas) into the building so as to forcefully evict the occupants.