Sunday, 25 April 2010

Rough Justice........

There seems to be a lot of thefts and burgularies in the area I live in Freetown at the moment and when thieves are caught the treatment they get is harsh to say the least.

A thief was caught a couple of weeks ago trying to break into a small shop near where I work - he was had battery acid poured on his privates, had his back burnt by a charcoal iron, was cut on his head and his legs with a machete and lastly had rags forced into his behind with a stick.

Last night as Brian and I were on our way to get something to eat there was a big crowd just in front of the NP (the local petrol garage that we go to to eat sometimes), there was a naked man laying on floor in a bad way - it was the same thief who had been beaten a couple of weeks ago. It turns out he's been wandering around town ever since then.

I've talked to a couple of Sierra Leonean friends about the man and their response was the same 'he's a thief and he deserves it, don't feel sorry for him'.
I felt terrible leaving the man there - but didn't know what else to do.....if I'd tried to help there was a good chance the crowd might have turned on me.
I had my eye open for him this morning and if he was around I was going to get someone to take him some clothes, but he wasn't there and no one that I've asked has seen him today. We'll see if he shows up again in the next few days.

This isn't the only instance of thieves being beaten recently - in the week when the man I've mentioned was caught there were at least two others in the same area given similar treatment. The reason people give is that if the thieves are taken to the police they are easily released and no action is taken.

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