At a previous press conference after the arrest of some military personnel, who were alleged to have engaged in certain subversion to undermine the peace of the country, I asked the Inspector-General of Police whether we are safe as a nation. He replied in the affirmative.

Before the press conference, the Sierra Leone Police had issued out a wanted list of some military personnel and some police officers who were alleged to have been part of the subversion.
I reminded the Inspector-General about the eleven-year rebel war, which was masterminded by a single Corporal Foday Sankoh. He quietly, recruited thousands of disgruntled young people in the eastern part of the country and ravaged the entire Sierra Leone for good eleven years, causing a lot of destruction to lives and property. The scars are still visible.

There are still questions around the November 26th ugly incident, which, after twenty-one-year of serenity, awoken the city of Freetown with sporadic gun shots. That morning was a bit cloudy with slight thunder storm, which many, including yours truly, misunderstood for the sound of bombs coming from Wilberforce.

I called my brother who stays at Wilberforce Village to confirm and he told me on phone, ‘Alusine, the firing is too heavy here.It’s scary! I can hear heavy exchange of gun fire with even RPGs being launched. I really don’t know what’s happening?’

I had placed the call to my brother after our graphics man in the office, Kayode, called me at about 3:30am, enquiring about the sporadic sound of gun fire coming from Wilberforce.
I told him that I could only hear some thunder storm because it wanted to rain, but I went further to verify from Wilberforce where it was confirmed to me that it was indeed the sound of gun fire. I couldn’t go to bed again, but keenly observed the situation, scrolling through my phone to get more information from credible WhatsApp groups.

Finally, it was confirmed that there was a security breach and some men had attacked the armoury at Wilberforce Barracks, one of the country’s biggest barracks. How it happened? Who were in charge of security at the armoury and where were they? How did the attackers, some of whom were later known to have come from beyond the boundaries of the country, entered the country and access Freetown onto the armoury at Wilberforce? What is it about our border security and our country’s intelligence? In the midst of ongoing investigations, these are some of the questions that linger on the minds of many critical thinkers.

Initially, the government refused to provide clearer information to the public about the incident. Yes, they managed the communication to maintain stability, which is good for national security. Later, it was confirmed that the November 26 attack was an attempted coup on the President Bio led government.
According to the police, eighty suspects including former President Ernest Bai Koroma are being questioned regarding the incident. Police have also issued out a wanted list of people suspected to have involved, either directly or indirectly, in the coup plot.

Unlike on August 10, when President Bio did some shakeup within the security sector, replacing the Chief of Defense Staff of the Republic of the Sierra Leone Armed Forces, but nobody within the sector has been reprimanded for the November 26 incident. Only those suspected of being involved in the act are behind bars helping the police with investigations, forgetting the fact that there were serious security lapses and people must answer some questions around that.

Imagine, the attackers spent almost two hours at the Pademba Road Maximum Prisons and at the Special Court Rehabilitation Centre and released thousands of prisoners with no resistance from the state security.

According to the military, they decided not to engage the attackers at those premises so as to avert civilian casualty. What, if the targets of those attackers were civilians, then there would have been thousands of casualties because we were left vulnerable.

There was absolutely a security failure. Unless one wants to be economical with the truth, but from our intelligence, border security to the security at the amoury, there are still questions left unanswered and that has left many in deep fear that, we are not safe as a nation. Public trust in the country’s security sector is currently lukewarm and the government must do something about that.
On the police wanted list, there are five army majors, four captains and several Order ranks that are on the run and who knows what their plan B is. As I said earlier, this is a scary situation as senior military personnel are on the run and one is left to wonder whether those on the run now are not far more powerful than.

Foday Sankoh, who single-handedly masterminded the eleven-year rebel war. Although the Minister of Information and Civic Education had informed the public that most of the arms that were taken from the amoury had been retrieved, but there are still questions about the ability of our security sector to detect crime and nip it in the bud.