The Minister of Internal Affairs, David Maurice Panda-Noah has told the press that the public should know about the arrest of 24 children between the ages of 12 to 17, following the August 10 insurrection and that they want to further explore ways of identifying their parents or guardians.

Speaking at a press conference held at the George Street Police Headquarters on Tuesday 16th August 2022, the Minister said The ultimate objective of identifying their parents or guardians is to assure them that their children are in the safe custody of the Family Support Unit (FSU) of the Sierra Leone Police, and to work out a mechanism to reunite them with their parents.

“Our Government acknowledges and respects the fundamental rights of persons, particularly children. I wish to inform all that their rights have been guaranteed, and wish to further assure that such rights will continue to be guaranteed while they are in the safe custody of the FSU” the Minister said.

He further stated that as a means of demonstrating such commitment, his Ministry has contacted and invited the relevant Ministries and Agencies that deal with children, to partner with the FSU so that the Children would be adequately taken care of as prescribed by law and other conventions and protocols dealing with children.

He also revealed that the FSU team has compiled the personal details of each child in their safe custody, including names, addresses and phone numbers of their parents or guardians.

The Minster strongly emphasised that family members should not be afraid to come forward to identify their children or wards and their safety is guaranteed.

“That is the more reason why we resolved to have the Ministries of Social Welfare and Gender and Children’s affairs to take the lead in contacting and/or identifying the parents. Our ultimate objective is the reunification of the children with their families” he said

The Minister also informed the media that the doors of the Ministry and the Sierra Leone Police are always open to clarify issues regarding the children in the safe custody of the FSU and the parents should take advantage of this opportunity.

Ansu Konneh, Compliance and Partnership Coordinator at the Ministry of Gender and Children’s Affairs, said that his Ministry has taken full responsibility for the welfare of the children and is providing opportunities for Child Serving Agencies to provide every support, including safe spaces for them while the reunification process continues.

According to Mr. konnneh the 6 girls and 18 boys will be treated with the utmost care, and every subsequent action will be strictly adhered to in compliance with the Child Rights Act.

Also present at the Press briefing were the former Deputy Inspector General of Police, who now works at the Ministry of Internal Affairs as Director of Police Affairs, and the newly appointed Inspector General of Police, William Fayia Sellu.