Home » In Sierra Leone, 13 army officers accused of attempting a coup d’état on November 26 were arrested

In Sierra Leone, 13 army officers accused of attempting a coup d’état on November 26 were arrested

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In Sierra Leone, 13 army officers accused of attempting a coup d’état on November 26 were arrested

In Sierra Leone, 13 army officers and one civilian were arrested accused of having played a role in organizing an attempted coup on November 26, during which several military bases and prisons in Freetown, the capital, were attacked. Armed men had occupied several streets of the city and had unsuccessfully attempted to steal weapons from an armory near the presidential palace. 20 people had been killed (13 soldiers, three attackers, two policemen, a civilian and a private security guard) and 2,133 people had escaped from three different prisons: to date only 178 have been returned to prison.

Both President Julius Maada Bio and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, a major international organization) called the clashes an attempted coup. The main opposition party, the All People’s Congress, also condemned the attempt to seize power through violence. On Monday 27 November the permanent curfew imposed the previous day had been reduced to a night curfew, from 9pm to 6am, and numerous checkpoints and a strong military presence remained in the capital.

Bio is a former soldier who took part in two coups d’état during the civil war that was fought between the 1990s and 2002; for two months in 1996 he governed the country at the head of a military junta. He was elected for the first time in 2018, and was re-elected in June in elections that according to international observers were held without the necessary conditions of transparency on the part of the electoral authorities. Bio’s administration has been praised for increasing school attendance in the country, but has also been criticized for failing to improve the economic conditions of the population. In 2022, Bio ordered the violent repression of large protests in Freetown, where the All People’s Congress has a lot of support, against rising prices.

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– Read also: An ambitious law for gender equality in Sierra Leone

In recent years there have been several coup attempts in West Africa, many of which were successful, such as in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, which borders Sierra Leone. According to Adedayo Ademuwagun, an expert interviewed by the New York Timesthe weakness of international reactions and protests and the success of these coups would have contributed to the attempt to organize one in Sierra Leone.

– Read also: The two football matches manipulated in Sierra Leone, finished 91-1 and 95-0

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