More than ten people are in police custody in Kenema, and others are in hiding after World Food Programme (WFP) food items meant to feed vulnerable people during the three-day lockdown were recovered from various stores in the city on Monday.
The raid of various stores in Kenema was supervised by Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) East, Alfred Karrow Kamara, who emphasized that he would leave no stone unturned in prosecuting those who are involved in the thefts.
AIG Kamara referred to the thieves as “unpatriotic Sierra Leoneans” who were bent not only on causing their fellow Sierra Leoneans to suffer but, he maintained, on killing them.
Briefing the media, the AIG showed journalists over 100 bags of WFP food items confiscated by police officers. He said he took part himself in the raid on the so-called “Ha for do” market at the Mattoe Kapuwa Lorry park adjacent to the Criminal Investigation Department.
The AIG was seen pointing from one store to another while his men conducted the search in the markets and elsewhere in the city. He asserted that some people were taking advantage of the situation and had deprived poor people of the benefit they were supposed to have.
AIG Karrow Kamara further informed journalists that police would be moving from house to house in the region in search of WFP food items which had been meant for the public, and that anyone caught for unlawful possession would be investigated and charged to court.
He said the current investigation was not blaming the World Food Programme, which supplied the food, or the Community Integrated and Development Organization, which distributed it. But he suggested that they were naive. These organizations may have good intentions in giving out food for distribution to the nation, he said but “our brothers and sisters whose hands the food passes through are always the virus in the system.”
He called on the public to give the security forces in the region any information that could lead to the recovery of any stolen WFP food items stored in the community.
Many residents in Kenema welcomed the action of the AIG, as reflected by a phone-in programme on a local radio station.
By Saffa Moriba
Thursday September 25, 2014