Update No. 97/04 on ICRC activities in Sierra Leone
26-06-1997 Operational Update
An ICRC team is evaluating the situation of internally displaced Sierra Leoneans, including those who have fled Freetown since the coup of 25 May. The team, composed of four expatriates, includes a health delegate and a relief coordinator. Those team members based in Conakry, Guinea, were able, for the first time since the coup, to enter Sierra Leone by road on Monday, 23 June, and were joined by expatriates and members of the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society from Freetown. They have so far been to Kambia and Makeni, in the west of the country, and are to return to Freetown today. The ICRC will shortly be setting up an office in one of the towns so that the evaluation can be continued, and specific information on the situation in these areas should be available soon.
On Monday, 23 June the ICRC succeeded in gaining access to all detainees at the Pademba Road central prison in Freetown. All those arrested on suspicion of being involved in the attempted counter-coup of 16 June were registered and spoken to in private. Delegates offered them the possibility of writing Red Cross messages, and their families were informed directly of their whereabouts.
The ICRC team in Sierra Leone consists of ten expatriates based in Freetown and ten more upcountry. Of these, six have been seconded by the National Societies of France, Iceland, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom.