Sierra Leone: Hikes in fuel prices, commodities, & high cost of living caused deadly anti-government protests- Journalist

At least two police officers and one civilian died after a day of anti-government protests in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.

A parliamentary correspondent from the country, Melvin Tejan Mandaray, reporting on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, noted that there are conflicting figures on the number of people who have died.

He said authorities were yet to put a tag on the death toll because there are conflicting figures.

He said some civilians and citizens were shot during the protest by the aggrieved citizens.

The West African country, struggling with rising inflation and a fuel crisis, imposed a nationwide curfew from 3 p.m. local time (1500 GMT) to curtail the violence.

He said the day was a bloody one s8ince some officers were killed as well as citizens.

In explaining the reasons for the violence, he said authorities particularly the national security, have described the protestors as faceless individuals who failed to come forward to seek clearance from the Police before embarking on the protests.

He said it is becoming most unlikely for the police to issue clearance to persons to embark on protests.

He indicated that all these things have been boiling in people and what broke the Camel’s back was the rise in the price of fuel, commodities, and the high cost of living among citizens.

He told the host that the citizens were fed with the economic hardship they are currently suffering, but also, the opposition feels intimidated and believes there is no political cohesion and inclusivity.

Melvin Tejan Mandaray added that youth unemployment is a major challenge confronting the youth and women population, which constitutes the largest number of citizens.

He said a ”great number of graduates come out of school without any job whereas, several young people operating businesses are struggling with a difficulty, in contracting loans to expand their businesses”.

The proliferation of drugs such as marijuana, he added, is a challenge the youth are battling.

”But generally, in terms of employment, a good number of the y6outh are unemployed. Even if they are unemployed, they are not decently paid. And if they paid, they are not paid on time,” he stated.


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