HC Deb 25 January 1956 vol 548 cc29-30W
71. Mr. Creech Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies to make a statement on recent disturbances and loss of life in Sierra Leone; what the causes of the trouble were; what steps are being taken to remove them; and what alternative proposals are being put forward.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Since the second half of November disturbances have occurred in the Northern and South-Western Provinces of Sierra Leone, causing fourteen deaths and considerable damage to property. The police opened fire upon disorderly crowds on twelve occasions, but themselves suffered no serious casualties. The situation is now quiet, though certain areas continue to be unsettled.

The immediate cause of the disturbances appears to have been the prospect of increased local taxation in 1956 together with dissatisfaction over the administration of the local tax laws. The Sierra Leone Government has decided that both the origin of the disorders and the use of force by the police should be investigated by a Commission of Inquiry. Its composition and terms of reference are being considered. Local taxation is meanwhile to be restricted to a maximum of 25s. per head.