Diplomatic Community in Sierra Leone Commends Government’s COVID-19 Response, Condemns All Acts of Violence in the Country

Presidential Lodge, Freetown, Thursday 21 May 2020 – Representatives of the Diplomatic Community in Sierra Leone have in a meeting with His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio commended the government’s response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic and condemned all forms of violence in the country.

During her opening statement Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Madam Nabeela Tunis, thanked the diplomats for honouring the invitation to meet and discuss issues of great importance to their individual and collective partnerships.

In his statement, President Bio said that Sierra Leone’s response to the COVID-19 was early and well-considered, noting that even before the country recorded its index case, Government and its partners had triggered off healthcare protocols, reactivated all Emergency Operations Centre, EOC, pillars and set up structures for quarantining, testing, disease surveillance, contract tracing, and isolation and treatment centres.

“I salute and associate strongly with focused and intensive multilateral global efforts by countries and international organisations including the United Nations, the WHO, the African Union, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and ECOWAS, among others, in battling this highly infectious and deadly pandemic.

“Sierra Leone is committed to all global efforts at preventing, protecting against and curtailing COVID-19. Sierra Leone is fully supportive of global initiatives to enhance health security and build capacities for responding to health emergencies, especially disease outbreaks that threaten global development,” he said.

Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Sierra Leone, Ambassador Ibrahim Habis Ugbada, appreciated President Bio for the efforts in curbing the COVID-19 in the country, saying that because of his standing qualities, the spread of the virus in the country had been slow. He also commended the government for its good work and assured of their availability at all times in every aspect of development and support to the government.

Resident Coordinator for the United Nations, Sunil Saigal, said that they condemned and would continue to condemn all forms of violence, adding that the focus of everyone should be on fighting the COVID-19 and to make sure it did not have a further negative impact on society. He also called on all political parties to refrain from violence of all sorts and support the national efforts in fighting the virus.

Head of European Union Delegation, Tom Vens, commended the President for his engagement with leaders of civil society groups, noting that they were encouraged by the initiative and leadership shown by the President in creating space for dialogue with CSOs. He said that as partners they were against any act of violence or intimidation that was standing in the way of the country moving forward.

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Fellow Citizens:
1. Today, I want to call on all Sierra Leoneans to celebrate the ties that bind us as a nation and not the angers that blind us. We convened a national convention that agreed to institute a permanent commission for peace and national cohesion that would identify and address all triggers of conflict in our nation. Over and over again, I have asked every Sierra Leonean to contribute to building inclusive and resilient national institutions, to consolidate our democracy, and to build a peaceful Sierra Leone.
2. The Sierra Leone Association of Journalists has acknowledged that they practise journalism freely and we are working with them to repeal obnoxious laws and further enhance professional development in journalism. Civil society organisations speak up freely and hold Government accountable and we are grateful that they are playing their part as citizens. Organised labour organisations, professional organisations, religious bodies, Paramount Chiefs, community stakeholders, the private sector all continue to contribute positively to our peaceful co-existence as a nation. The international community in Sierra Leone continues to engage with Government and Sierra Leoneans in general in fostering peace and supporting development.

3. In this Holy Month of Ramadan, Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of ethnicity and political party, buy and sell in the same markets, live peacefully in the same communities, and break fast and worship Allah Subuhanah wa T’Allah together and in peace.
4. Presently, Sierra Leone is contending with COVID-19 that has already killed over two hundred thousand people worldwide including Sierra Leoneans at home and abroad. We will remember them and their families. We will also continue praying for our compatriots and their families who are currently battling with this highly infectious and deadly disease. I thank and urge all my fellow Sierra Leoneans to continue complying with all hygiene and public health directives as we work hand-in-hand to rid this country of the Corona Virus.
5. I also call for solidarity and cooperation from all well- meaning Sierra Leoneans across this great nation to join us in informing and mobilising our communities to prevent, curtail, and protect against COVID-19.
6. It is at times like this, in our country’s greatest hour of need, that we should all voluntarily stand up for our shared values, our common destiny, and the only place we call home. When Ebola ravaged our nation, I did not wait for an invitation or a telephone call to lead my party’s

social mobilisation and fight against Ebola. I travelled to every part of this country that was accessible to me and delivered a message that was in consonance with the government’s strategy and objectives in fighting Ebola. That is what serving the national interest is -not waiting to be begged pleasantly to serve your country and putting your country’s interests always above all else.
7. As President, I have reached out to all Sierra Leoneans to work together to make this country a peaceful place for all of us. I dispatched the Honourable Vice President to former President Ernest Bai Koroma to initiate dialogue on fostering peace and resolving the acrimony of division. I followed that with a personal invitation of the entire leadership of the All People’s Congress party to State House, (including former President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma), to discuss the way forward for a peaceful and united Sierra Leone.
8. In the post-meeting memorandum of understanding, we resolved on working urgently on building a united and cohesive Sierra Leone free of patronage, threats, hate, virulent partisanship, and corruption.
9. But within those two years, there has been an unrelenting barrage of attacks against the state, state officials, public and private persons and properties. This hearkens back to

a public threat issued by the losing Presidential candidate that the All Peoples Congress party would make the country ungovernable.
10. One would therefore expect that the leadership of the All People’s Congress, like the leaderships of the other political parties in Sierra Leone, would have publicly and staunchly condemned as well as dissociated the party from any persons or groups of persons who incite hate, associate with and support violence, or participate in violence against the state. They have not. Instead, the leadership has made public statements that have heightened tensions.
11. Evidence emerging from investigations have named known local leaders and members of the APC as being responsible for inciting, planning, financing, mobilising, and in some cases actively participating in violent terrorist attacks against the people of this country.
12. The silence of the national APC leadership on the active participation of their members and executive members in these acts of terrorist violence, senseless loss of lives, injuries and wanton destruction of public and personal property is truly disconcerting.
13. And let us be very clear, fellow citizens. The actions of these persons are not peaceful political expressions as

one expects in a democracy. Their actions are carefully planned, coordinated, well-orchestrated and executed acts of violent terrorism targeting the state, state officials, public buildings, and private persons and property. Like terrorists elsewhere, they even record their acts with telephone cameras, run self-valorising commentaries on their acts of extreme violence and killings, and share those synchronously in WhatsApp forums.
14. For each of the attacks at Lunsar, Foredugu, Tombo, and the prison breakout at Pademba Road Correctional Centres, known agents and associates of the All People’s Congress party have publicly predicted the precise date, target, and nature of the attacks. There is an obvious pattern. These attacks are therefore premeditated, orchestrated, and executed with a clear objective – to make the state ungovernable.
15. Persons who have been arrested are not being held because of their political beliefs or their professional work as journalists. Beating a journalist to death, persistently inciting people to violence against the state, the unauthorised carrying of loaded firearms, burning down the homes and vehicles of Chiefs, burning down hospitals and community health centres, burning down police stations, destroying telecommunications

installations, burning down large parts of prisons, violently killing persons with machetes and iron bars, are all criminal offences. What each and all of them have done are not peaceful political expressions. They are either being held on criminal charges or being investigated for criminal violence and terrorism-related offences.
16. Incitement to extreme criminal violence, arson, murder and attempted murder, other felonious acts targeting the state, state officials, public officials, private citizens, and public and private persons are not peaceful political actions meant to foster peace in Sierra Leone.
17. The right to free speech is guaranteed in our democracy and in our constitution. But no democracy guarantees a right to speech that incites criminal violence, foments hate and divisiveness, causes public disorder, and threatens the security and stability of the state.
18. I am certain that our international partners agree with us that prosperity and development are possible only when there is peace and stability. Countries that have prospered have always ensured first that peace and security are maintained. Our international partners, as moral guarantors of our peace, should therefore single out and wholeheartedly condemn persons and organisations

associated with these acts of extreme violence against the
19. In peaceful democracies, citizens strive for the
common good, peacefully cohabit with other citizens, and advocate for and protect their rights through peaceful norms and practices.
20. Our enforcement agencies and the justice sector will ensure that every citizen’s right to due process is respected and justice is dispensed speedily and without hindrance, fear, or favour.
21. The rule of law is supreme. No citizen, absolutely no citizen, is above the law.
22. My Government has been closely following events of the last few weeks. The security sector has closely analysed the prime movers, financiers, causes, nature, and patterns of violent acts. Our responses are therefore well-informed.
23. As Commander-in-Chief, I have ordered the intelligence and security forces to use all available resources, and take all measures necessary within the laws of this country to deal promptly, decisively, and robustly with all acts of violence against the state.
24. Anybody who incites, plans, supports, undertakes, or is involved in any manner of violence in this country will

be dealt with harshly. We will use all instruments of state power and resources permissible under the laws of this country to deal firmly and decisively with these violent terrorist attacks against the state of Sierra Leone.
25. I have also ordered urgent reforms within the security sector. The objective is to make their leadership more decisive, more effective in crime prevention and deterrence, and to maintain peace and stability in the face of extreme acts of terrorist violence against the state.
26. I have called for more citizen engagement so that communities are more intimately involved in preventing crime and the causes of crime. I want to personally encourage civil society organisations to expand their scope of work to capture these dynamics in their daily work with communities.
27. I have also ordered urgent reforms within the correctional system to provide for safe and secure custody in line with international best practices while developing a reintegration component focused on skills training and entrepreneurship.
28. I am aware that the courts are closed because of COVID-19. But given the prevailing circumstances, I will appeal to the Chief Justice to consider appropriate

measures to adjudicate the cases that emerge from this
widespread insecurity.
29. Equally, given the destruction to the Pademba road
Correctional Centre and the burning down of police stations in parts of the Country in addition to over- crowding in the Correctional Centres and police cells, there is a need to think about decentralizing court hearings.
30. In conclusion, let me re-state that any act of violence will be dealt with within the broad spectrum of the law. Citizens have an obligation to obey law and order. Those who think that by fomenting trouble and inciting violence in this country, they can derail and distract the government from fighting corruption, attracting investors, and meeting its promise to deliver development of this nation, know now that you will lose this fight.
31. My Government will hit hard and it will continue to hit even harder until this fight is won because this is a fight for the unity, stability, development, and the future of the only place we call home. It is a fight that we must fight and it is a fight that we must win.
I thank you and God Bless Sierra Leone


Fellow Citizens

In this Holy Month of Ramadan, Asalamualaikyum warahamatu- ilahi ta allah wa barakatuhu

1. On this 59th anniversary of our nation’s independence, we are once again reminded of how we are a resilient people, who have stood together as a nation in trying times and come out every time a stronger and better nation.

2. These are not normal times in our country and in the world at large. The ravaging Coronavirus has overwhelmed nations and left over two hundred thousand dead in its trail. This pandemic has changed societies, unsettled notions of unilateralism, and left economies in shambles.

3. As we mark this day, I would like to thank our healthcare and other essential workers, Chiefs and community leaders, journalists, development partners (local and international), and Sierra Leoneans who have volunteered to work hard to rid our great nation of COVID-19.

4. I am also profoundly grateful to every Sierra Leonean who has complied with restrictions on movement, assembly, livelihood, and lifestyles. Those measures may seem intrusive and unbearable now, but they are necessary to break the chain of transmission so we can return to normal life and routine. For all you do to prevent, protect yourselves and others, and to curtail the disease, I thank you. Let us all be communicators and social mobilisers who do not only act to prevent Corona but also educate our loved ones, neighbours, and our communities about this highly infectious disease.

5. Fellow Sierra Leoneans, you all know that before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had made steady progress as a nation. There had been improved macroeconomic stability, increased revenue mobilization, and we had taken measures to open the country up for competitive and rewarding investments in various sectors.

6. We had allocated 21% of national budget to support free quality education for two million children regardless of gender and ethnicity. We were building effective and resilient institutions and fettering corruption because corruption is inimical to our development. We were deploying new technologies for governance, education, healthcare, agriculture and for business. We will continue pursuing these and many more as we fight to contain COVID-19.

7. Fellow citizens, the baseline for our national development remains to be human capital development. As I have always maintained, a fit-for-purpose education that nurtures talent and promotes innovation; a resilient healthcare system that is affordable and accessible; and, a vibrant agriculture sector that targets food security through promoting modernized farming, value-addition, and agro-based businesses for our citizens, are the very precursors and the very foundation for our development.

8. Fellow Citizens, let me remind all of us that the task ahead is arduous. Now is the time for every patriotic Sierra Leonean to unconditionally contribute his or her fair effort for Sierra Leone. Patriotism is not about standing up only for people with whom you share the same political loyalties, ethnicity, or region. It is about embracing and caring about people who hold different views, and who belong to different ethnicities and different regions. It is about standing up for the ideal that your country’s call in its hour of need is supreme.

9. Only with our collective commitment, determination, focus, and unity of purpose, shall we prevail over Corona. I, therefore, entreat every Sierra Leonean to strictly adhere to all hygiene protocols and healthcare directives, and to report anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. You must also continue to use healthcare facilities for all other illnesses.

10. Fellow Citizens, if natural disasters, war, and the Ebola
pandemic never vanquished our resolve to survive, we shall overcome this yet again, and together build a strong and productive SIERRA LEONE.

I thank you. Asalamu alaikyum. God Bless Sierra Leone


On behalf of myself, my family, the staff at the SL Embassy here in the Federal Republic of Germany (and all accredited countries), I want to extend a HAPPY INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY to His Excellency President Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, Vice President Dr. Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, members of the New Direction Government and indeed to all Sierra Leoneans in and out of our country.

In spite of the global challenges and the nature of the hurdles we face, I am confident that we have the right leader at this time, in the person of H.E. Julius Maada Bio, to navigate us through our challenges.

May we have many far happier anniversaries in the future!

H.E. Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh
(Sierra Leone Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and Italy)


Let us all hold on tight to the rope of hope, believe in our God and support the national effort!

Fellow Sierra Leoneans in the Federal Republic of Germany and the accredited states of Austria and Italy, indeed Sierra Leoneans in Sierra Leone and in every other place on this shared planetary space, I would very much like, on behalf of myself and staff at the Sierra Leone embassy here in Germany, to wish us all the strength of faith and the power of hope to help us hover through this very cloudy patch.

In this most harrowing of abnormal times, we need courage and faith, we need hope and love, but above all, we need God to guide us all as we work, together, to face our common challenge.

Our planet needs us, our country needs us! We need ourselves!

It is obvious that every government in every corner of the world is finding new ways to grapple with a situation that is as unprecedented in its dimension as it is devastating in its effect. What is also clear is that the government of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio has been evidently very proactive in its efforts as Sierra Leone sadly steps into the field of a still unfolding global battle. I have no doubt that this government will continue to do everything to lead us through.

Therefore, I want to plead to every single Sierra Leonean, wherever we may be, to intensify our support for the initiatives taken by government and national and international healthcare bodies in leading our nation through a deeply trying time.

Please remember:
this is not a political fight; this is a fight for our lives!
May God almighty help us to win this battle and to rise way above its deadly effects!

H. E. Dr. M’Baimba Lamin Baryoh,
(SL Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, Austria and Italy)

Declaration of a State of Public Emergency by His Excellency, Dr. Julius Maada Bio, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Fellow citizens:
By the authority vested in me under Subsection 1 of Section 29 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, Act No. 6 of 199, regarding the declaration of a state of public emergency, it is my
opinion that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue, will lead to a state of emergency in Sierra Leone.
The Corona virus disease is a highly infectious disease that constitutes a public emergency of international concern that has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
The rapid global spread of the corona virus poses great risk to human life and can cause enormous socio-economic disruption in Sierra Leone. This situation therefore requires effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the corona virus diseases in Sierra Leone.
Now, THEREFORE, I, JULIUS MAADA BIO, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Supreme Head of State, Grand Commander of the Order of the Republic, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Sierra Leone having regard to the threat that the corona virus disease poses to the lives of the people and the economy of Sierra Leone, and the need to take effective measures to prevent, protect, and curtail the spread of the disease throughout Sierra Leone, do hereby, by this Proclamation, declare that a State of Public Emergency exists in the whole of the Republic of Sierra Leone with effect from today the 24th Day of March 2020 for a period of twelve months.
As I have stated before, I reaffirm the determination of my government to do everything necessary to protect the life of every Sierra Leonean.
This is not a lockdown and nobody must use this as an excuse to hoard goods, hike prices, or engage in acts of lawlessness. This public emergency is not meant to make the lives of Sierra Leoneans difficult or unbearable.
We will continue to deploy the armed forces and Police, as necessary, to enforce compliance with all public health directives.
We believe that the actions that we take as a Government, will have an impact for the well-being of our beloved nation.
I thank you God Bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.

COVID 19 Notice








030-7720 585 0













030-7720 585 0






Fellow citizens:

Sierra Leone is threatened by the global Corona virus pandemic. It is a public health emergency of global concern.

It is a deadly virus that has infected hundreds of thousands of people all over the world from China and the far east to Europe, America, and some African countries.

The Corona Virus has tested and overwhelmed the organisation, expertise, and vast resources of the healthcare systems of the richest and most advanced countries including China, America, United Kingdom, Italy, and Spain, to name a few.

Like the Ebola virus, it is easily transmitted from person to person.

Like Ebola, it is spread through social contact.

It is spread through contact with respiratory droplets through the mouth, eyes, and ears. If you have flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, and difficult breathing that last three days, you must self-report by calling 117 or at the nearest healthcare facility.

Corona or COVID-19 is a virus for which there is currently no vaccine.

It can even be transmitted by certain population groups that show no obvious symptoms of an infection.

Like the Ebola virus, the Corona virus can be deadly.

Now, our immediate neighbours, Guinea and Liberia have both reported confirmed cases of Corona virus infections. The deadly Corona virus is in our neighbourhood. It is no longer a question of whether the Corona Virus will come to Sierra Leone, it is a question of WHEN.

Over a month ago, my government began implementing a raft of measures to prevent the incidence of the Corona virus.

We have implemented stringent entry port surveillance measures at our international airport at Lungi and two major land border posts at Gbalamuya and Gendema. We have instituted robust entry port screening, monitoring, and quarantine arrangements.

I have personally assumed leadership of all preparations. I have visited and overseen the diagnostic and isolation unit at 34 Military hospital; the Lungi International Airport Quarantine facility and airport; and, the Gbamulaya border post in Kambia.

At all those locations and at every public speaking opportunity since, I have publicly called for heightened vigilance. Corona, like Ebola, is a highly infectious and deadly virus.

We have three testing laboratories, an equipped purposely built isolation unit, and we are fully equipping treatment centres. We have also approached a friendly government to support our effort with equipment and medical supplies.

We have triggered public health emergency measures. We have committed some financial resources to preparedness and public health education.

The Ministry of Health and Sanitation has activated the Emergency Operations Centre to Level 2 to coordinate initial preparedness and response. We have activated the Emergency contact number 117. I repeat, 117. An associated call centre will process all calls to this number and act on each call and every information received accordingly.

We have streamlined standard operating procedures to cover screening, quarantine, laboratory, and data management for persons from identified epicentres and sites of incidence of the Corona Virus. We have positioned expert contact tracers and disease surveillance units in all district levels.

We have implemented handwashing procedures at most medical institutions and urged citizens to observe limited social contact.

We have alerted our healthcare personnel and strengthened our healthcare systems across the country.

We are determined to prevent the incidence and spread of the virus. But we are also extremely cautious that like Ebola, by the time we identify one positive case, we would have had several dozen disease contacts. We cannot afford to wait for a positive case.

We are not going into imminent lockdown. Our actions and the preventive measures we take now as individuals and as communities are critical to ensuring we don’t have to.

This is not a time to panic. I have held consultative meetings with fellow Sierra Leoneans right across board including those persons who managed the Ebola crisis. To my mind, this is a time for close attention to detail, focus, and intense discipline.

Therefore, I announce here today additional guidance to citizens in order to further enhance our national preparedness.

1. I have directed the military to immediately deploy to our international airport and land crossing points in order to enhance security and support compliance with all public health directives and advisories.

2. Ministries, Departments, and Agencies are urged to collaborate very closely to support and ensure compliance with all preventive measures we have put in place.

3. All government officials are directed to suspend all foreign travel until further notice.

4. Citizens are strongly encouraged to postpone all overseas travel especially to locations with reported cases of the Corona virus. Our country’s biggest source of threat is persons who have travelled from Corona infected countries.

5. The Ministry of Health has issued a comprehensive advisory for the administration of quarantine for citizens, legal residents, and visitors who arrive in Sierra Leone. We urge strict compliance. These measures will be monitored and continually reviewed.

6. Citizens are strongly encouraged to tell their family members, their neighbours, and other persons in their communities that the Corona virus is already in Liberia and Guinea. It is highly infectious; it is a virus for which there is currently no vaccine; and it can kill.

7. Citizens are therefore strongly urged to avoid physical contact and practice social distancing at all social and public gatherings. This applies to public events including but not limited to football matches, public concerts, social events, religious congregations, weddings, funerals, and other such large gatherings.

8. Citizens with flu-like symptoms, including a fever, cough, and difficult breathing are encouraged to seek immediate medical attention and call 117. Nor peppeh doctor yousef.

9. As at the time of Ebola, good personal hygiene and behaviour are critical to preventing the spread of the Corona Virus. Citizens must:

a. Avoid handshakes and hugs when greeting people;

b. Avoid direct contact with persons with cold or flu-symptoms;

c. Cover their noses and mouths when coughing or sneezing;

d. Wash their hands often with soap, clean water, and use a hand sanitiser.

10. Private businesses, public institutions, event organisers, stores, supermarkets, and market women should provide enhanced hygiene facilities including handwashing stations with clean water, liquid soap, hand sanitisers at all entrances. They should also ensure that all toilets and common areas are regularly cleaned and disinfected.

11. Operators of minibuses, taxis, and kekehs are urged to minimise congestion and to provide hand sanitisers to passengers. They are also encouraged to call 117 and report persons who are visibly sick with a fever, cough, and difficult breathing.

12. I urge all public and private radio stations; religious leaders; chiefs, tribal authorities and headmen and women; community leaders; local council administrators and leaders; political party leaders and representatives at the ward, constituency and national levels; and, administrators and staff of educational institutions at the basic, secondary, vocational, and tertiary levels; to continually broadcast and reinforce public health education information on Corona virus prevention including hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and social distancing.

Although there are no confirmed cases in Sierra Leone at this time, we must adopt the foregoing immediately in order to forestall the deadly risk of the Corona Virus.

We continue to actively monitor developments around the Corona Virus and we will announce further enhanced measures including a declaration of a State of Emergency to protect public health and safety.

Fellow citizens, as a nation, we have triumphed together over war, Ebola, and natural disasters. Together again, by the grace of God, Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala, and through our collective resolve, vigilance, and determination to strive and thrive as a nation, we will overcome this menace, yet again.

I thank you.
God bless you and
God bless The Republic of Sierra Leone.


Christian Widmann is arriving in Freetown on Sunday the 12th January 2020 as the new Director of GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) for a three year period as a successor to Malte Kirchner whose tenure have come to an end.

GIZ works in direct collaboration with the German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) which supports numerous projects in Africa, several of which are ongoing in Sierra Leone.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Widmann paid a courtesy call on the Sierra Leone Ambassador to Germany Dr. MBaimba Lamin Baryoh and their discussion centred mainly on GIZ operations in Sierra Leone wherein the ambassador suggested a further strengthening of relationship between GIZ and Sierra Leone. Mr. Widmann informed Dr. Baryoh about pending funding expected from the European Union for its projects.

Dr. Baryoh also briefed him on matters of national interest namely the political, economic and security situation as it is presently and where Sierra Leone as a country is coming from; rebel war, Ebloa etc. to a very peaceful and politically stable country today. He drew his attention to the recent visit of the German Foreign Minister to Sierra Leone where he returned with a very good impression.

Mr. Christian Widmann had previously worked in both Ghana and Nigeria.