A political disaster is unfolding in Sierra Leone following presidential and normal elections in June this 12 months
FREETOWN – Armed clashes erupted in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, on Sunday in what the federal government stated was an armed assault, because it instantly imposed a nationwide curfew.
Witnesses informed AFP they heard gunshots and explosions within the metropolis of Wilberforce district, the place the armory is situated in addition to a number of embassies.
Other witnesses stated they heard exchanges of fireside close to a barracks within the Murraytown space, the place the navy is predicated, in addition to outdoors one other military website in Freetown.
A video posted on social networks confirmed teams of males on the streets who have been described as escaped prisoners.
AFP was unable to substantiate from the authorities that the jail gates had been opened.
Automatic weapons hearth and explosions could possibly be heard on soundtracks posted on social networks.
The streets of the capital have been in any other case empty, witnesses stated.
“I used to be woke up by the loud sound of a heavy machine gun (hearth) and bombs coming from the Wilberforce barracks round 4:30 am,” stated the witness Susan Kargbo AFP by phone.
“I used to be shocked and … the gunshots continued till this morning, it was like a struggle,” she stated.
The authorities stated those that tried to interrupt into the arsenal on the military barracks have been repelled, however the public was requested to remain at residence.
“The public is satisfied that the federal government and our state safety forces are in cost,” Information Minister Chernor Bah wrote in a “public discover”.
“To allow the safety forces to proceed the method of arresting suspects, a nationwide curfew is asserted with quick impact all through the nation,” the minister stated.
No particulars got concerning the individuals who allegedly carried out the assault, or their motives.
Sierra Leone, an English-speaking nation in West Africa, goes via a political disaster following presidential and normal elections in June this 12 months.
– A collection of coups in West Africa –
West Africa has had a collection of military coups and coup makes an attempt since August 2020.
Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea, which share a border with Sierra Leone, are all under military management.
The President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, additionally supplied assurances that calm had been restored to the capital, urging folks to remain indoors.
“Early this morning, there was a breach of safety on the Military Barracks at Wilberforce in Freetown, the place some unknown people attacked the military armory,” he beforehand posted on X, Twitter.
“However, our valiant Security Forces defeated them and calm has been restored,” Bio stated.
“As the mixed crew of our Security Forces continues to trace the exit of the fleeing remnants of the renegades, a nationwide curfew has been declared and residents are inspired to remain indoors,” Bio stated.
He added that the federal government would proceed to guard the peace and safety of Sierra Leone in opposition to the forces that wish to undermine our much-respected stability” and that he was “enthusiastic in our determination to protect democracy in Sierra Leone”.
The US Embassy on social media condemned the bid to interrupt into the arsenal and supplied continued assist to these “working for a peaceable, democratic, wholesome and affluent Sierra Leone”.
Bio, who was first elected in 2018, was re-elected in June with 56.17 % of the vote – simply over the 55 % wanted to keep away from a runoff.
International observers criticized inconsistencies and an absence of transparency within the rely, in addition to acts of violence and intimidation.
The foremost opposition social gathering the All People’s Congress (APC) protested the outcomes of the June 24 presidential, legislative and native elections and boycotted all ranges of presidency.
The APC and the federal government signed an settlement in October following talks by the Commonwealth, the African Union and the West African bloc ECOWAS.
The APC agreed to finish its boycott and start taking part in authorities in alternate for an finish to detentions and court docket instances it stated have been politically motivated.