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Sierra Leone’s President Declares Calm After Unrest

Julius Maada Bio


Sierra Leone’s President Declares Calm After Unrest

Sierra Leone, facing economic challenges as one of the world’s poorest countries,

Freetown, Sierra Leone – In a televised address on Sunday evening, President Julius Maada Bio assured the nation that calm had been restored after a day of armed clashes in the capital city.

The president framed the incidents as an attempt to destabilize the state, emphasizing that most of the perpetrators had been apprehended.

The day unfolded with unidentified assailants trying to breach a military arsenal in Freetown, engaging security forces in various parts of the city. The assailants also managed to free numerous prisoners from jail, adding a layer of complexity to the unfolding situation. In response to the unrest, a nationwide curfew has been imposed until further notice.

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President Bio stated, “Calm has been restored” while characterizing the events as an “attempt to undermine the peace and stability that we are working so hard for.” He confirmed that most of the leaders involved had been arrested and would be held accountable, but specific details were not provided.

Information Minister Chernor Bah earlier asserted that the government had firm control over the security situation in Freetown. Although a tenuous calm returned to the city, significant security forces manned checkpoints to maintain order.

As of now, no official human toll from the violence has been disclosed. Videos circulating on social media show individuals in uniforms seemingly under arrest. Reports also mention the death of a former member of the close protection team of former President Ernest Bai Koroma (2007-2018) during the clashes.

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The situation prompted the Civil Aviation Authority to instruct airlines to reschedule flights after the lifting of the curfew, ensuring that the airspace remained open.

The events in Sierra Leone have raised concerns internationally, with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) describing the incident as an attempt to seize weapons and disturb peace and constitutional order, language commonly associated with political coups. The European Union’s local representation expressed concern and called for respect for constitutional order.

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Sierra Leone, facing economic challenges as one of the world’s poorest countries, experienced a political crisis following disputed elections in June 2023.

The incidents have revived fears of a potential coup attempt, echoing similar events in West African countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and neighbouring Guinea since 2020.

The government’s “zero tolerance for unconstitutional changes of government” stance was reiterated by ECOWAS, which expressed support for the incumbent government and called for the arrest of those responsible for the unrest.

President Julius Maada Bio, re-elected in June amidst contested results, faces the challenge of stabilizing the nation in the aftermath of these troubling events.

Buhari Olanrewaju Ahmed, a seasoned investigative journalist and climate/environmental reporter with a decade of experience, unravels complex issues and amplifies critical voices. His in-depth investigative work and insightful reporting have earned him recognition as a trusted source of information. Ahmed's unwavering commitment to journalism and exceptional storytelling prowess make him a standout figure in investigative journalism. His work drives meaningful conversations, influences policy decisions, and inspires collective efforts toward a sustainable future.

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