Two people reportedly died and several wounded as violence broke out in the diamondiferous town of Koidu.
Over 500 residents in Koidu, known as the Affected Property Owners, staged a protest against a diamond mining company called Koidu Holdings.
The demonstrators, who were holding placards and megaphones, called on residents to advance on the diamond mining site at Sokiogbeh section in Tankoro.
Some of the placards read: “enough is enough, no more blasting”, and “we need our houses back”. While the demonstrators were on the streets advancing towards the mining site, blasting was still going on which aggravated the situation.
The demonstrators went to the mining site and started pelting stones at the workers. Then the security forces at the mining site started firing teargas at the demonstrators which then resulted in the use of sporadic shootings into the air.
As the situation intensified hundreds of residents were seen with their belongings moving into the town centre for safety.
Several people with gunshot wounds were brought to the government hospital at Koidu, with two in critical conditions.
Two of the wounded died at the hospital on Friday morning. Youths of the township went to the hospital and took the corpses to the Tankoro police station, which also resulted in violence between the police and the youth, which led to the police and army deploying in several parts of the township.
A delegation from Freetown over the weekend held talks with the affected people and other stakeholders in the township to deliberate on the 14-point resolution that was to be addressed by the mining company.