1. For the past four weeks, the MoD/RSLAF has followed some inaccurate and misleading stories making rounds in a particular media outlet about the DETENTION of Captain Patrick Kamara, Warrant Officer Class 1 Samuel Conteh and Warrant Officer Class 2 Abu Bakarr Jalloh.
2. The MoD/RSLAF would, therefore, like the public to know that the continued detention of these military personnel has been necessitated pursuant to Section 77 (2) of the RSLAF Act of 1961 (As amended). This statutory provision states that if a soldier remains in custody for a longer period than eight days without trial by a court martial, a special report should be made on “the necessity for further delay”, and at every eight days, a similar report should be also made until the soldier is arraigned before the court martial for trial. Hence, as persons subject to military law, the three military personnel are still being held at the custodial centre in accordance with the said provision.
3. The MoD/RSLAF would also like the public to know that all the three military personnel are being held under “Open Detention”, and as such they can freely move within the confines of the custodial centre. They have NEVER been transferred to the Pademba Road Prisons, where in 2013, Private Momoh Kargbo and 13 other military personnel (who were accused of mutiny at Teko Barracks in Makeni) were placed behind bars under lock and key with hard core criminals for almost two years. Even though the alleged mutineers were later set free, their placement behind bars with hard core criminals affected their DIGNITY. Thus, under the CURRENT MILITARY LEADERSHIP, the MoD/RSLAF would like to keep all the military personnel at the custodial centre while they are being investigated and tried by a court martial.
4. The MoD/RSLAF would further like the public to know that Captain Patrick Kamara and the two others have NEVER been denied access to their family members, lawyers and human right organizations. On daily basis, their family members visit and talk with them. Recently, one of their lawyers, Ady Macauley (the former ACC Commissioner) also visited and spoke with them. Again, the Human Rights Commission has also been permitted to make similar visit to the military personnel. The MoD/RSLAF is encouraging LEGITIMATE individuals and human rights organizations to request for permission, through the chain of command, for such visit to the military personnel at the custodial centre.
5. Most importantly, the MoD/RSLAF would like the public to know that since the retirement of the former President in April this year, all the military personnel that were part of his security detail have NEVER been dismissed, arrested and detained in contrast to what is FALSELY REPORTED by a particular newspaper. However, they have all been re-assigned to other posts. For instance, Lieutenant Colonel Sheku Tejan Sesay (who first served as Officer Commanding the former President’s security detail and later as ADC to the former President) is currently working at the AU Headquarters as Military Operations Officer. Besides, Colonel Paul Koroma (who last served as ADC to the former President) is now appointed as Director of Training and Education.All the other military personnel are currently working in various units and formations across the country.
6. In addition the MoD/RSLAF would like the public to know that former President Koroma was a LEGITIMATE Commander-in-Chief of RSLAF and Minister of Defence and as such all the military personnel that served him and carried out their jobs devoid of UNLAWFUL ACTIONS have NEVER been brought to book. Thus, NOT anyone of them has EVER been arrested and detained contrary to what is CRIMINALLY PUBLISHED. However, the MoD/RSLAF challenges the media practitioner stating this FALSEHOOD to produce HER evidence.
7. However, the MoD/RSLAF would like to REMIND the public that Captain Kamara and the two others are ONLY being detained and investigated for an apparent disappearance of a large cache of ammunition and some arms, which they had ALLEGEDLY signed for, collected and kept while working in the former President’s security detail. The MoD/RSLAF believes that the disappearance of such ammunition and weaponry poses SERIOUS THREAT to national security.
8. The MoD/RSLAF would, further, like to inform the public that the investigations into the matter have been concluded and the appropriate legal advice has been proffered. Currently, plans are underway for the resumption of the Court Martial to try the offences that will be proffered against all the three military personnel.
9. The MoD/RSLAF would like to assure the public that these military personnel would be given a FAIR TRIAL as NOBODY is passionate in wanting them to be held LIABLE UNJUSTIFIABLY for the disappearance of the arms and ammunition. However, the Court Martial would prove their innocence or guilt.
For further inquiry, please contact the following:
1. Brigadier General Alhassan Bangura
Assistant Chief of Defence Staff for Public Relations and Information and Defence Spokesman
Phone/WhatsApp: +232 76 625 673
2. Captain Yayah Brima
Acting Staff Officer Grade 2
Phone/WhatsApp: +23278 452 876