Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Defence (MOD) has today, Wednesday 1 June 2022 issued a response to the alleged cannibalization of 300 Ambulances by Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) and Sierra Leone Police (SLP) personnel at Hastings Airport.
According to the Ministry of Defence, their attention was drawn to an article published on 25th May 2022 in the organizer.net website alleging police and military personnel to have cannibalized 300 Ambulances parked at the Hastings Airport.
The Organizer reports that 300 Ambulances at the Hastings Airport Donated by Global Partners to Sierra Leone during Ebola have been cannibalised.
‘The cannibalization of the 300 band new Ambulances parked at the Hastings Airport by police and military officers who were mandated to protect and secure the vehicles is the latest broad daylight thievery by SLPP police and military security officials,” the report states.
“In 2013, the last APC government of President Ernest Bai Koroma received around 800 Ambulances from international partners to help the Sierra Leone government fight the deadly Ebola pandemic. The donations came from the US, the UK, European Union, Canada, and other nations. Five hundred of these Ambulances were distributed around the country in various hospitals and Health Centres during the Ebola era.”
The organisers further reports that “The remaining 300 Ambulances were reportedly kept safely at the unused Hastings Airport on the outskirts of the eastern part of the capital Freetown. And military and police officers were deployed at the dilapidated Hastings Airport by the last APC administration to secure the 300 Ambulances. These Ambulances were at Hastings safe and well maintained until 2018 when the SLPP government of President Bio came to power. That was when problems started at the dilapidated Hastings Airport. Today, the brand new remaining 300 Ambulances are a wreck at Hastings Airport.
‘Investigations conducted by the Peoples’ Power have revealed that the police and military security officers at the Hastings Airports have removed all the vital mechanical components of the Ambulances leaving the vehicles in a wreck. And sources say, the ruling SLPP government is aware of these problems but kept mute.”
In response, the Ministry of Defence stated that the allegation has been rebutted by an investigation carried out by the RSLAF military police.
“The public is hereby informed that, the facts contrary to the publication are as follows:
The National Emergency Medical Services (NEMS) has a mechanical workshop at Hastings Airport along the Rgbangba Road where Ambulances and other medical services vehicles are being serviced. The workshop is secured by the Mount Everest Security Agency (MESA) and there is NO military or police deployment at the workshop.
The RSLAF was never tasked to provide security for the workshop therefore has no responsibility for the security of Ambulances or medical services vehicles at the Hastings Airfield. Also, the RSLAF has never been involved in the servicing or alleged cannibalization of vehicles at Hastings Airfield. The workshop Manager can be contacted for further information on the status and security of the vehicles parked at the workshop.”
MOD assured the general public that the RSLAF remains a professional force and will continue to uphold its constitutional responsibility towards the state.
“The public is hereby kindly requested to verify information or allegations related to RSLAF with the Ministry of Defence,” the Ministry concluded.