Brigadier Nelson Williams, the deputy chief of defense staff and spokesperson for the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, Wednesday told a group of civil society and security personnel from the three Mano River Union countries that Sierra Leoneans were being deprived of formal security as they were not even allowed to farm.
Speaking at a sub-regional conference on Civil Society and Security Sector Cooperation at the Mamba Point organized by Conciliation Resources, Brigadier Nelson Williams told delegates that there were allegations of Sierra Leoneans being forced to pay taxes to Guinean authorities and that sine they were not allowed to farm to get their livelihood, they were bound to become poorer. This, he said, constituted a security threat.
The army deputy boss also told delegates that, “natural justice demands what is yours is yours” and that the current government under the leadership of President Koroma was exploring all political and diplomatic avenues to solve the matter amicably.
He stressed that the boundary between Sierra Leone and Guinea was man made and that the two countries were one and the same as “we have the same people, tribes, religion, aspirations and culture”.
He also said sharing of ideas and learning from each other and the need for cooperation, coordination and collaboration was an indispensable necessity to creating the enabling and conducive environment for peace, stability, democracy and development.
Brigadier Nelson Williams went further to reveal that the security architecture of Sierra Leone was assumed to be more developed and called on other countries “to learn from us”.
The Mano River Union security committee, Nelson said was a crucial concern to peace of the MRU and that the importance of a joint border patrol meetings could not be overemphasized to ensure practical synergy between civil society and security sector for a lasting peace.
Nelson Williams also said human security in its broader sense embraced far more than the absence of violence and conflict but encompassed access to education and healthy care and ensured people had the opportunity to improve on their potentials and that there was therefore the need for civil society and all other sectors to try and solve the Yenga issue.
Commenting on the issue Pascal Bangura, a police commissioner from Guinea, said the two countries were not having any intension of causing trouble in each other’s country and that Guinea had every interest for peace and collaboration with Sierra Leone.
The conference, which brought together about 40 participants from the three MRU countries, was meant to facilitate network development and strengthen the cooperation among civil society groups in the MRU countries.
A statement with recommendations for sustained and enhanced civil society and security sector cooperation in the MTRU counuitres was given. By John Baimba Sesay