Sierra Leoneans have expressed concerns over the presence of Guinean Military Officers in Yenga, a town in the border between Sierra and Guinea.

Sierra Leoneans in Yenga stated that since the start of the year, Guinean soldiers have been entering their community, patrolling around with weapons. They noted that they they feel intimidated and insecure by the presence of the armed strangers.

“Every morning they pass here with weapons. We are worried. We don’t want to see weapons again. Our children are with us,” Town Chief of Yenga, Chief Tamba Nyuma said.

He furthered that, what is happening in their community is paining them as they are under threat. He added that the Guineans are saying that they own Yenga.

The Town Chief further called on government of Sierra Leone to intervene on the matter. “We are tired with this intimidation. 23 years now we are tired. We sleep under ambush,“ he lamented.

According to reports, Guineans came to occupy Yenga during the civil war in Sierra Leone. This was after Guinean troops were sent into the village to help the army of Sierra Leone suppress the RUF rebels and remained in the community after the war ended and that before that, Yenga was administered by the Kailahun District of Sierra Leone.

It is noted that, In 2005, Sierra Leone and Guinea signed an agreement that Yenga belonged to Sierra Leone and later declared demilitarization of the village in 2012, but the dispute over ownership of the area remains unresolved despite the many bilateral agreements signed.

Speaking on the issue and how it disturbs them, Sierra Leone citizens in Yenga say their Guinean counterparts are claiming ownership of the community and destroying properties belonging to them.  Guinea military officers have entered the community back moving around with weapons, an operation which residents say has hampered their normal activities as they claimed that, the community has no school since the Guineans last broke the last one belonging to Sierra Leone. The principal of the school now teaches in another town.

Many Sierra Leoneans still believed that the government needs to act wise and do more for the reclamation of he said land as it has been a very long unresolved issue which has seen presidents after presidents coming but the problems still remain burring slowly.

Yenga is a village in Kissi Teng Chiefdom, Kailahun District in the Eastern province at the border between Sierra Leone and Guinea. Since the rebel war, there has been a dispute between residents of both countries over who own the village largely occupied by the Kissi people of Sierra Leone. Many dialogues have been rolled out but nothing yet has been solved.