Home Foreign News In Sierra Leone: Army Hinders ‘Coup Attempt’…Citizens Urged To Stay Indoor; As Dragnet Set For Plotters’

In Sierra Leone: Army Hinders ‘Coup Attempt’…Citizens Urged To Stay Indoor; As Dragnet Set For Plotters’

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By: E. Geedahgar Garsuah

FREETOWN/MONROVIA: The Government of Sierra Leone, through its Ministry of Information and Civic Education, has disclosed an attempt by some unidentified men to topple the government of President Julius Madaa Bio.

However, according to the Sierra Leonean government, the National Army has thwarted the attempt to unseat the government. The government has also imposed a nationwide curfew.

A statement released on Sunday, November 26, 2023, quoted Sierra Leone Minister of Information and Civic Education, Cherno A. Bah, as assuring Sierra Leoneans that state-security forces have arrested the situation. The government has also called for calm.

Minister Bah: “In the early hours of Sunday, November 26, 2023, some unidentified individuals attempted to break into the military armory at Wilberforce Barracks. They have all been rebuffed. The public is assured that the government and our state security forces are in control.”

The government of Sierra Leone indicated that it has imposed a dusk still dawn curfew as a means of helping the process to have the “unidentified individuals” arrested.

“To enable the security forces to continue the process of apprehending the suspects, a nationwide curfew is declared with immediate effect across the country. We strongly advise citizens to stay indoors,” the statement, under the signature of Minister Bah pointed out.

The government also cautioned citizens to follow the official Ministry of Information and Civic Education channels for accurate information and updates on the matter.

Various international media outlets have reported sound of heavy gun fire in the early hours of Sunday, November 26, 2023, by unidentified men in what is believed to be as an incursion upon the Military Barracks at Wilberforce in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

According to reports, the action by the unidentified men appears to be an audacious attempt for the acquisition of significant amount of arms and ammunitions.

The reports added that the men also gained control over the Pademba Road Prison Compound where scores of inmates were set free and taking full control of the prison facility.

The action of the unidentified men, according to pundits, was precipitated by consequences that arise from allegation of election rigging or ‘gerrymandering.’

From all indications, the intent and purpose of the attempted coup appear to be a meticulous work orchestrated and driven by political motives with the goal to strategically dismantle the government whose recent election was a product of electoral fraud, as international organizations have cast credibility doubts over the process.

General elections were held in Sierra Leone on 24 June 2023 to elect the President and members of Parliament.

Incumbent President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected with 56% of the vote and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SPP) won 81 seats in Parliament compared to the main opposition party, the All People’s Congress (APC), which won 54 seats.

The result was contested by the APC, which demanded a rerun, citing “glaring irregularities”.

The European Election Observers Mission stated that there were “statistical inconsistencies” in the Presidential results published, with the European Union Election Observation Mission saying that the electoral commission should “publish disaggregated results data per polling station to allow public scrutiny of the results.”

Unless that happened, it said that transparency was compromised. The Carter Center also echoed similar sentiments, as did the United States, Britain, Ireland, Germany, France and the European Union.

The first post-civil war elections in Sierra Leone were held in May 2002, with Admah Tejan Kabbah winning reelection with a majority of the vote.

Kabbah’s administration focused on fostering reconciliation, maintaining internal security, and promoting economic recovery and reform.

To that end, both a Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) and United Nations-sponsored War Crimes Tribunal (the Special Court for Sierra Leone) were established that summer, and UN Peacekeeping Troops remained in the country until December 2005.

Economic recovery in the postwar years in the tiny West African country was somewhat aided by significant debt relief and the reopening of bauxite and rutile mines.

Still, in the years after the war, Sierra Leone was consistently rated as one of the world’s poorest countries in the world.

In June 2007 the Special Court for Sierra Leone began trying former Liberian rebel and President Charles Ghankay Taylor, who in 2003 had been indicted for his involvement in Sierra Leone’s civil war and charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Because of security concerns, his (Taylor) trial was conducted at The Hague. On April 26, 2012, Taylor was subsequently found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during Sierra Leone’s civil war, because he had aided and abetted the rebel forces who committed these crimes.

He was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Taylor filed an appeal, but it was rejected, and his verdict and sentencing were upheld.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone held Presidential and Parliamentary Elections in 2007. Ernest Bai Koroma of the opposition party APC was elected President, and his party was successful in winning a majority of Parliamentary seats.

Koroma’s Administration tackled the ongoing issues of rebuilding the economy, eliminating corruption, and improving the quality of life in the country.

He also presided over celebrations in 2011 to mark Sierra Leone’s 50th anniversary of Independence from Great Britain. Koroma was reelected in 2012 with almost three-fifths of the vote.

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