Minister says eight police officers killed in Sierra Leone during protests

Youth Minister Mohamed Orman Bangura said the officers, six men and two women, were “brutally” killed in the protest area on Wednesday.

The protests sometimes turned violent. Graphic images and videos of assaulted and seriously injured protesters and some security forces can be seen on social media. Security forces were seen firing guns at civilians.

Bangura said he could not immediately confirm the number of civilians killed or injured in the violent demonstrations.

“We still don’t know how many people were injured, but I can confirm that eight police officers were killed.”

Vice President Mohammad Zulde Jallo imposed a curfew on Wednesday to quell the protests.

Youth minister Bangura termed the protest as an act of terrorism.

“They are not protesters. There is a difference between protesting and rioting and acts of terrorism. Protesting is different from acting like a terrorist … going against the state, killing young police officers,” he said.

“Police have made some arrests,” the minister told CNN, accusing the country’s opposition of financing the protests.

“This was well planned, calculated and financed by members of the opposition All People’s Congress. Members of the opposition paid the youths to come to the streets to take over,” said Bangura, a member of the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party.

“If the protest is a consequence of the cost of living, why is it not happening in all the strongholds of the current government? Why is it happening in Makeni, the opposition party’s central town? Why isn’t it nationwide? strike? Why do they (opposition) feel that only three of the 16 districts are their stronghold? he asked.

CNN has reached out to the opposition APC for comment, but has yet to hear back.

However, Freetown Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sayer, one of the leading politicians of the main opposition APC party, condemned the violence.

In an emotional video released on Wednesday, Aki Sawyer pleaded for an end to the violence and said “it’s not about the party but about the people.”

The mayor said he is praying for peace and national unity in Sierra Leone with a steering committee of religious leaders.

“Today in our city… my heart is full for those who lost their lives and loved ones… those who lost property across the city. We are all brothers and sisters… I absolutely believe in peace and stand. Against violence,” he said, speaking in the local Creole dialect.

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