Usually very reliable sources have intimated this Press that erstwhile Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police, Dr. Al Shek Kamara, has fled from Sierra Leone in fear for his life under the current Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) led regime.
When this newspaper contacted the former DIG, he confirmed over a phone interview that he had indeed left the country as he feared the alternative may be “the fate that befell another retired Sierra Leone General who was murdered inside his house in the absence of armed protection”.
It may be recalled that on 27th July 2018, the SLPP Government of H.E. Brig. (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio forcefully retired Al Shek Kamara from his post as DIG. No reason was given for the early retirement.
The lack of any official reason for the sacking of Dr. Kamara left the public speculating. What is however clear, is the fact that no due process was followed for his abrupt removal. This therefore fueled the strong belief that the dismissal could not have been influenced by anything other than politics.
Al Shek Kamara was second-in-command in the Sierra Leone Police hierarchy. Dr. Richard Moigbeh, the current Inspector General (IG) of Police is very close to his retirement age. This means Al Shek Kamara was naturally to take over as IG when Dr. Moigbe retired in the not too distant future.
However, Dr. Al Shek Kamara is a Temne man from the North which is known as the heartland of the opposition APC Party. Many perceived him to automatically be an APC sympathizer who may not believe in the currently ruling SLPP Government.
The belief held is that SLPP which has been abusing rights of citizens, such as the right to freedom of movement in and out of the country, needs a pro-SLPP officer to head the Police. The SLPP is believed to be in need of a Police Chief who will be pliable to continued abuse of constitutional rights of citizens. Al-Shek Kamara, who is acclaimed to be strict and uncompromising, may not fit the bill.
Presidential Spokesman Mr. Yusuf Sandi, recently told this newspaper that the SLPP government was not purely for Mendes but despite his passionate assurances, it has not helped the situation that when Kamara, a Temne from North, was retired forcefully, he got replaced by Mr. FUK Daboh who is a Mende gentleman from the South-Eastern Stronghold of SLPP.
The dust of the retirement of Al-Shek Kamara as DIG had started to settle but what has caused Al-Shek Kamara to run for his life and leave Sierra Leone is the abrupt exposure of him and his family to real and credible danger with the withdrawal of all his security protection benefits which he is entitled to.
It has been confirmed by this newspaper that Al-Shek was not only sacked but was stripped of all his protection benefits and privileges due a retired Police General of his status. Such a situation has exposed this known no-nonsense former Police Officer and his family to possible grave harm.
Similarly, when this newspaper visited the residence of the now-fled Police General, we learnt from some of his neighbours that not only have all police protection been withdrawn from his residence but even family members of Al-Shek Kamara are already suffering intimidation. One of his family members is said to have gotten harrassed at her workplace by SLPP stalwarts.
These mounting unfortunate developments, according to family members who also spoke to us, have raised grave concerns for the security of Dr. Al Shek Kamara, which has now caused him to leave the country.
It can be recalled that some two years ago, another retired Sierra Leone officer, Lt. General S.O. Williams, upon being retired from the military, got his armed protection withdrawn. Subsequent to this, in his helpless and unprotected state, S.O. Williams was attacked inside his residence and murdered in cold blood.
In the aftermath of that particular killing, the Police Council had approved that from July 2017, henceforth all retired Police Generals of rank of AIG and above, should be entitled to 24 hours armed police protection at their residence as well as close protection bodyguards with pistol. Also, retiring generals were due to go on retirement with one official vehicle.
Although Dr. Al-Shek Kamara was retired without due process, he is still entitled to all the above especially the armed guard protection. But competent sources have alleged that the IG of Police on 8th August 2018, ordered for the vehicle and all armed guards to be forcefully withdrawn from residence of the former DIG.
Awareness Times contacted Police Headquarters for their side. Police Spokesman Superintendent Brima Kamara was rather evasive when this newspaper asked as to the reasons for withdrawal of the privileges due the retired Police General. He said the Police will only comment to the media if Al-Shek Kamara first openly complained to the media.
After we received written and signed confirmation by email from Al-Shek Kamara that indeed all his retirement protection benefits had been withdrawn, the Police Spokesman continued being evasive to speak on the issue. He said he did not believe the story that protection has been removed. He said several police guards including “Mark Anthony, a police officer” are still with the retired DIG.
However, this newspaper has confirmed that not only has the said Mark Anthony been withdrawn but he was even immediately sent on pre-deployment orientation at Police Training School and subsequently re-deployed away from the retired DIG. This newspaper has confirmed that currently there is not a single police guard assigned to the residence of Al-Shek Kamara.
Meanwhile, one senior Police Assistant Inspector General (AIG) who asked not to be quoted, said the treatment of Al-Shek Kamara was “primitive, frightening and disgraceful”.
“How can they expect us to serve diligently against criminals if we can be sacked without procedure and then exposed without protection for criminals to come and hunt us down like late S.O. Williams? Is that civilised? Are we a civilised country? What I can tell you is that many senior police officers are demotivated and demoralized over the withdrawal of the security benefits to Dr. Al-Shek Kamara. Tomorrow it may be any one of us, whom may be seen as not belonging to a particular grouping. We are down in spirits,” the senior AIG sadly said with tears in his eyes.