Sierra Leone Police officers in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone who were indicted over the death of a 17-months old baby have shunned investigations, Sierraloaded has learnt. 

Sierraloaded reported in December 2021 how the arrest of the breastfeeding Mother, Kadiatu Koroma has allegedly led to the untimely death of her 17-months old baby girl in Makeni, Northern Sierra Leone.

According to reports, the girl child, Hannah Kanu, died at the Panlap police division in Makeni city, around 9 p.m. local time.

It was gathered that Kadiatu Koroma and her daughter was arrested and detained by officers of the Sierra Leone police on allegations of stealing a handbag which reportedly had several items in it worth about Le750,000.

A source told TV-News24 that the mother of the child was crying for help while in the police cell because her child was seriously sick. But police ignored her cries and pleas for help.

“It wasn’t until after Sergeant Gibril, a traffic officer, said he heard a female voice in the cell crying out that her child had died, before police eventually went in the cell to check on the woman,” the source said. And when they entered the cell, they found the child dead, according to the source.

Following public outcry on the incident, the Independent Police Complaint Board released a statement announcing that it has commenced a preliminary investigation into the case.

“IPCB Preliminary Investigation into an Alleged Death of a 17-Month Old Baby in Police Custody at Panlap Police Division in Makeni City

“It is announced for the information of the public that the Independent Police Complaints Board (IPCB) has commenced a preliminary investigation into reports of an alleged death of a 17-month old baby, while locked up with her mother in police cell at the Panlap Police Division in Makeni City on Thursday 23rd December, 2021.

“This is in pursuance of section 3 (1) (a) of The Independent Police Complaints Board Regulations, 2013, which provides for an investigation into “the death of any person while in the custody of the police”; and section 9 which mandates the IPCB to “conduct an investigation on its own initiative”.

“The public will be kept fully informed of developments as and when they do occur.”, the statements reads.

However, Sierraloaded understands that Assistant Inspector of Police, Gabriel Tommy and LUC Musa Allieu who were both invited by the Independent Police Complaint Board to attend their office on the 4th January 2022 for an interview in connection with allegations of the death in police custody of 17-months old baby and other unlawful arrests and detentions both shunned the invite.

According to the letter sent to the officers and seen by Sierraloaded, they were to answer to the following specific allegations:

I. the Death in Police custody of a 17-month old baby, while locked up with her mother in a Police cell at the Panlap Police Division in Makeni City on Thursday 23rd December 2021 and

II. Police brutality, assault, wounding, looting, unlawful arrest and detention, forced exiled, and Professional misconduct on 14th October 2021 reported by one Mr. Foday Bah Mansaray of Mawulay Village, Gbendembu Chiefdom, Bombali District against him and other Police officers attached to the Panlap Police Station, Makeni City of which he is the Assistant Inspector General – Region.

It is not clear why the officers shunned the invitation but Sierraloaded also understand the the Inspector general of Police, Ambrose Sovula has been mute on the case.

“Public servant ignored to be accountable to public institution….. Democratic pillar of every state is the Police, they act oppositely by not protecting the lives of citizens. The question is why Government is reacting so much on the death of DJ Clef leaving the 17 Months old infant abandoned. Is it because the 17-Months old infants parents are poor/vulnerable or voiceless????”, a concerned citizen wrote.