Cockerill Military Barracks, Freetown, Wednesday 6 December 2023 – His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio today joined mourners, family members, well-wishers and Sierra Leoneans at the inter-faith funeral service of 18 security personnel killed during the 26 November failed attempted coup in Freetown.
The President stated that the killed in action, among them 15 members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, 2 officers of the Sierra Leone Police and a member of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, “stood steadfast in the face of treachery. They paid the ultimate sacrifice by standing fearlessly against the forces of anarchy and tyranny that threatened to engulf The Land That We Love…”
He added: “Fellow mourners, we gather here today, under the weight of immense grief, to honour our brave Military and Police Officers who lost their lives defending our democracy against the forces of darkness during the failed attempted coup of November 26th, 2023.
“Today, we stand united in grief. We stand not just as mourners but as bearers of a sacred duty, a solemn responsibility, to honour our fallen comrades. Their attackers, in their cowardly and selfish acts, sought not only to subvert our democracy but to shatter the trust of our people, the trust in our Military and Police Officers, and the trust in our nation”.
President Julius Maada Bio reminded that each one of the gallant officers had pledged to defend the constitution and the nation, stressing that, “their unwavering commitment to their duty, loyalty to our country, and steadfast courage in the face of danger will forever be etched in our hearts”.
“As your Commander-In-Chief, I feel this tragedy’s weight, burden, and sorrow. These Officers were my responsibility, my brothers in arms, my family in service. The pain of losing these brave officers is our collective pain as a nation. It is the pain of a mother losing her son, a sibling losing a brother, a child losing a father, a wife losing a husband, and a friend losing a dear friend,” he said and vowed that their sacrifice would not be in vain.
“I assure you that everyone who has a hand in the cowardly act of November 26th that led to the death of these men will not escape the full weight of the law.” “Our resolve stands unshakable and fierce”. “We will pursue justice for each of them with relentless determination, irrespective of the power or position of their cowardly assailants,” he promised.
The Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Peter K. Lavahun, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, William Fayia Sellu, and the Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Colonel Sulaiman Sheikh Massaquoi also paid solemn tributes for and on behalf of their institutions they head.
The inter-faith funeral service was officiated by the Chief Imam of the Maritime Wing of the RSLAF, Major S.Y. Kamara from the Muslim faith and Lt. Colonel B. S. Lebbie from the Christian faith.
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