By Mohamed T. Massaquoi
Police in Pujehun in the southern district of Sierra Leone have confirmed reports of the convening of a secrete trade fare at the Gbondapi community in the Kpanga Karbondeh chiefdom.
The police Assistance Superintendent who is the support officer to the Pujehun headquarters division, Paul Bannister, told Politico that in a meeting on Monday with the local Police Partnership Board, paramount chiefs and other district stakeholders including a team from the Sierra Leone police headquarters in Freetown confirmed the existence of the secret trade fare.
He said this came to their knowledge from a report received from the town chief of Gbondapi.
The normal trade fare which used to take place on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is believed to be the oldest in the southern region and is located twelve miles to the district headquarters town of Pujehun.
The police ASP referred to the situation as a “security threat to the district and the entire country especially at this time of the Ebola crisis.” He warned those involved to realise that the country was still under Public Health Emergency.
All trade fares were disbanded across the country through bye-laws adopted by paramount chiefs with the blessing of the government in a bid to stem the spread of the Ebola virus disease which experts say is transmitted through bodily contact.
“We as the Sierra Leone Police condemn this attitude by the community people and we are going to implement the full force of the laws in the fight against Ebola in other to discourage complacency in the district as we have gone above seventy days with zero infections,” said ASP Bannister.
The local police chief noted that this was all happening because they had to lift restrictions in line with the Presidential declaration easing inter-district movement. But, he warned, they were going to mount Ebola checkpoints in the district in other to discourage the influx of people.
According to Bannister, they were also going to mount full security patrols to all trade fare areas in the district.
“Anybody who will be caught in the running of trade fare will pay a fine of Le500, 000 or [be sentenced] six months jail,” he warned.
ASP Bannister also warned commercial motor bike riders to desist from transporting people to these trade fares, urging citizens to work with the police in the area of neighborhood watch. He said they were also going to look in the area of traffic offences in the district which he said was on the increase.
© Politico 19/02/15