The Jenkins Johnston’s Commission of Inquiry set up by government to look into the disturbances between property owners and Koidu Holdings mining company on 13 December which led to the deaths of two people has finished public hearings.
Hearings first started at Fachima hall Koidu and continued in Freetown at the Miatta conference hall.
Before the close of hearing, the officer commanding the Operational Support Division (OSD), ASP Foday Jabbie, testified that he did not give orders to his officers to use their weapons on the day of the demonstration on December 13. Asked by the commissioners what he understood by the word shoot to stop, ASP Jabbie answered: “you shoot the man that is committing the crime and if I am deployed to protect lives and property I stop anybody from destroying them.”
When asked further whether the police would shoot someone on the head to stop that person he said, “you aim against the person.”
Sgt Mohamed Kamara a.k.a twin was alleged by two of the affected persons to have shot one of the demonstrators Aiah Momoh in the head.
But Sgt Mohamed Kamara told the commission that he was on duty on the day of the demonstration and was involved in persuading the demonstrators to go back to their houses.
He denied carrying any weapon on that day and that he did not know who gave orders to shoot.
The local unit commander at the Tankoro Police Station, Joseph B. Kabia, said he also appealed to the demonstrators to go back to their houses and spoke to Sadiq Sillah at Koidu Holdings to stop the siren and not to blast.
He further testified that he gave instructions to ASP Jabbie and Mr Clarke to maintain order.
Mr Kabia said on that day he did not hand over weapons to any of his officers nor gave orders to anyone to open fire, nor had operational control over the OSD deployed at Koidu Holdings, nor was he aware how officers were transferred.
Closing the commission’s hearing, chairman Jenkins Johnston said the commission was not a court of law nor did they place anybody on trial.
“It is a fact finding body and as we have ended hearings we will proceed to write our report and make our recommendations to government,” he said. The other two commissioners are Mustapha K. Dumbuya and Ivan C.A Gordon.