Residents of Pujehun District have complained of an alarming rate of theft in that part of the country, prompting a press statement from the District Council, strongly condemning the act and calling on the Security Sector to all necessary action for the culprits to be prosecuted.
The Council in the release dated 2nd October, 2022 explained that thieves broke into the council’s canteen and stole goods and property worth millions, adding that there have been series of complaints of armed robbery in the district, highlighting theft at the Street Child Office, attacks on patients and staffs in the hospital, among others.
The council therefore called on the Security Sector to increase the level of security especially police night patrol as a strategy to nab the thieves and bring them to book.
“The Council is calling on the security sector to step up night patrols and be proactive and be vigilant in their approach to stop these thefts that have turned into a serious concern in the communities” a part of the release reads.
They also encouraged the public to provide the police or the council with any information that can aid investigations in order to capture the thieves.
Expressing her frustration, the most recent victim, a Businesswoman at the Pujehun District Council Canteen, Mary B Sellu, stated that as of the time of the interview, all the items she could recall that were stolen are equivalent to NLE 23,046( twenty three thousand and forty six leones)
Sellu explained that she received a call on Sunday morning informing her that thieves had broken into her canteen.
She stated that she made an initial report but could not make a full statement because she has been distraught since the incident occurred.
According to Sellu, amongst the item stolen were eight processed Chevron or goat meat, twenty processed local chicken, fifteen slices of beef, two cartoons of fish, a portable cooler, four crates mutzig, two crates of stout and beer and forty glass plates and cups.
The single mother explained that a month ago, thieves broke into her other shop in her house where they stole all business. ” I am stressed, am really not happy because am a single parent. I don’t have a husband or someone to support me, I have to strive to support my children” said Sellu.
Choking with emotion, she noted that it took her a long time to make that money, adding that she has no idea how and where to start from.
Responding to the rate of theft in the district, Crime officer at the Pujehun Police Division, ASP Daniel A Jusu said: ” in relation to rate at which we record theft matters, I would not want to say it is alarming. Crime rate generally in the division is a bit moderate, however lately we have recorded theft matters”
When asked about the investigation into the Council’s Canteen robbery, Jusu noted that there has not been any statement. He said he has personally sent an investigator to reach out to Sellu, but admitted that she is distraught at present to make a full statement.
Speaking on the recommendations made by the council, Jusu explained that the Police and the Military have been engaging in effective night patrols. He however noted that the district is too big and that they will not be able to cover all the areas.
He added that they had been encouraging neighborhood watch which he noted has not been effective.
The District Chairman of Civil Society, Ibrahim Borgiwa Swarray, highlighted several factors that he believes are responsible for the rampant thefts, amongst which are high youth unemployment, drugs abuse, lack of skills training opportunities for the youths, and the lack of enough police personnel to patrol the township, as well as lack of community support for the police.
He recommended that: “The security sector should work closely with other institutions to promote community-led vigilant groups” adding that neighborhood watch should ensure that they engage in massive awareness campaigns through hall meetings and the media.