The United Nations Department, Safety has raised serious alarm on safety and security in Sierra Leone.
According to a press release issued by the department, it said that in the past week, there have been two reports of murder in Bo District over travelling issues; fatal shooting in Ngarankan in the Bombali District in the north; incidences of armed robbery in the western region targeting foreign nationals with the intent to burgle foreign currency and the suspected murder of a foreign national in a hotel room at Aberdeen.
The press release stated that there are also unconfirmed social media information pending protest action in August and September.
Therefore, the United Nations Personnel and their dependents are advised to check that the following security measures are in place. All personnel are to ensure that windows are grilled, and the main entrance doors are safeguarded with metal barriers.
“Allocate a safe room where your valuables can be secured and where you can secure yourselves in when there is a break-in and then wait for reinforcement for DSS mobile patrol.
Ensure you and your dependents and your security guards have mobile phones with emergency contact numbers for DSS Security operation centre. Your warden should know the nearest SLP Post or UN Clinic.
Your compound is well illuminated i.e. security lights on your perimeter walls are in order to show the outer immediate areas and the roofs and the immediate inner compound,” the press release stated.
The press release also warned all UN Personnel to always brief their guards about the immediate actions when there is an intrusion or break-in or there is a suspicious movement in your compounds. Guards must blow their whistles to alert you and your neighbors of the attempt. Once an alert is sounded, the burglars usually would escape the area.
Avoid attracting undue attention to yourself by displaying electronic or expensive goods; be mindful of foreign currency transaction/cash; changing foreign currency in the street for the can relay messages that you have available of foreign currency and can follow you to your location.
It is alleged that a group is responsible for targeting foreign personnel for foreign currency.
“It is suspected they are colluding with security guards and money changers.
Ensure all movements must be well planned, especially working late at night. Limit night movements and avoid at all costs the use of commercial moto and tricycles.
Always informed your wardens, your Security Focal Point or DSS of your movement prior to proceeding to and returning from field missions or leave.
Avoid large gatherings; be mindful of wearing, displaying colour or symbols that may be mistaken for sympathy or support for a particular group, as this may compromise personal safety and security. Limit social media use to the applicable national laws and rules and rules of the UN; timely report of any unusual activity that has the potential to impair the safety and security of the UN Personnel and their departments to the UN Security Operations Centre (SOC) Radio Room or to the nearest Agency Security Focal Point/ Warden.
Yu will find emergency contact numbers highlighted at the back of your UN ID Card”.