Sierra Leoneans are getting jittery every day since Al Shabaab has declared that they will attack Sierra Leone. It is true that we have to be jittery and be alert always because they are always true to their word.
We have to take all necessary precaution to avert any attack in Sierra Leone as the Police have started taking necessary measures to make sure they are pro-active, just in case. But my concern with the police is that they must pay more attention to averting any attack in the country rather than policing SLAJ’s office.
My opinion on this issue is that the Police should first of all make sure that every Somalian in Sierra Leone must be checked and cross checked and they should be under surveillance at all times. Let us don’t have the idea that Al Shabaab will come from Lungi or from the border crossings with their guns and bombs, but their first option is always to brainwash those of their country men and women within the country they want to attack.
Secondly, we should look at Somalians coming from the Western Countries to Sierra Leone as they are a source for Al Shabaab. In Kenya, the Somalian refugees from England and Sweden were the people, who were at the centre of the West Gate Shopping Mall.
Thirdly, we should put security above religion. The Western countries that are banning the covering of faces are not doing it because they hate Muslims, but because of security. Let the Police put security of the nation above religion because when these people are walking the streets of Sierra Leone with their faces covered, can we identify who is under the covering? It is an easy way that the Al Shabaab can infiltrate our security system because they know that our police have put religion above security.
Working around the city we can see OSDs with their guns protecting major areas like Youyi building, the banks, and Police head quarters. The Police must use more civilian police all around the city and other areas than deploying many OSDs that are easily recognised from a distance.
It is now time for the government to start monitoring the social networks and try to enact laws to cover Cyber crimes. Al Shabaab is using the social networks very effectively to do their operations and if we don’t monitor the social networks they will be very comfortable in getting their operations working.
For al-Shabaab, this was an important achievement in the long-running media war between them and western governments. However, this is not the first time al-Shabaab have won this kind of battle.
During the Westgate attack, they were updating the event through Twitter. Several of their accounts were shut down, only to reopen using a different name. “It doesn’t cost us money,” an al-Shabaab official said. “So we’ll open a new account.” Al-Shabaab joined Twitter in December 2011. It was to counter Kenya’s military spokesman Major Emmanuel Chirchir, who was updating journalists and the public through Twitter after his forces invaded Somalia.
Like any communication officers, the al-Shabaab press team use catchy phrases and interesting sound bites to get the attention of the media. For instance, in the last video, this line was used by most of the media: “If you can’t afford to get hold of one of these (pointing to his AK47), then certainly a simple knife from your local B&Q will do the job.”
Al Shabaab is getting angry with Sierra Leone every day as the Sierra Leone troops in Somalia have made enormous gains against them by driving them from the Port and also from mining areas. Because of these losses the Al Shabaab group is not happy so we have to double our security and be vigilant in every perspective to avert any disaster in the country.
For the Police to go on radio and talk about what they are planning will not solve the problem. He must be sincere and make sure that they work with the Military and seek help from develop countries so that the country can be secured.
One thing I know, Sierra Leone has a porous security system due to poverty and corruption. To bribe someone is as easy as buying food in the market. Our only hope is God who will protect us, but we must first of all set the pace and that can be done if the police is very sincere with this threat.
Let us take this threat very serious and let the police do their job effectively to protect lives and property in the country. There are many areas all over the country that are insecure the mining areas, the border crossings are all targets for this terrorist group. Our attention should not only be in Freetown but the country as a whole.
I hope the police will be up and running to make sure that they protect the country when they are most needed.