By Mafugi Ceesay
The National Assembly on Wednesday condemned the unfortunate killings involving the police intervention unit and the community of Faraba.
In a statement released at the end of its recent sittings, the assembly indicated that impunity tarnishes the image of a country and that it is the concern of the Assembly that the welfare of the people should be of uppermost consideration in tapping resources in their localities.
The full statement is reproduced below:
“The country had waged a bitter fight to free herself from 22 years of autocracy and dictatorship, where fundamental rights and freedoms were trampled afoot; what happened in Faraba Bantang is an assault to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the members of the community.
This House adduced that the current mining scheme is a threat to the only remaining area on which the community depends for rice productions and that the House is concerned that mining has already destroyed two of the community’s farmlands where they grew rice in abundance.
The National Assembly resolved that proper medical care be given to those shot and injured and if need be, be sent abroad for proper treatment if such cannot be offered in the country and those who lost their lives as a result of the shooting should be given due compensation to their parents. Also, those who survived bullet wounds be given due compensation, particularly those who may emerge debilitated by injury.
The House indicated that the State should take all reasonable steps and efforts to prevent police brutality and human rights violations in the future and that the State should ensure that security officers do not use live bullets on unarmed civilians.
The National Assembly also asked the government to appoint an independent investigation body into what led to the issuing of live bullets to the paramilitary and the eventual shooting of unarmed civilians; the government table or cause to be tabled, the report of the investigation not later than 14 days of receiving the said report.
The House indicated that those found guilty should face due process of the law and that henceforth, the government should halt all mining operations in the area; the issue of mining in the area be reviewed and reconsidered critically, given that it affects the livelihood of the community concerned and that in future, communities be involved in the negotiation before implementing such schemes in their localities; that henceforth part of the proceeds accruing from tapping resources in localities be plough back to communities as dividend for the development of those localities. Finally, the State undertakes immediate measures to ensure the security and protection of the people of Faraba.”