Haunted by Elections Backlash? -Gun Sounds Rock Freetown, Govt. Imposes Curfew

MONROVIA: It seems the ghost of Sierra Leone’s presidential elections  is running after the postwar country, a situation matured into what appears to be attempted insurrection against the recently elected government of President Julius Maada Bio.

The political violence and unrest which are erupted in that West African state since the re-election of President Bio in June is reaching matured proportion as gunmen attacked a military barracks in the capital, Freetown prompting the imposition of curfew by the Government.

The June election in Sierra Leone was the fifth since the end of Sierra Leone’s 11-year civil war. Most international observers condemned a “lack of transparency” in the ballot count and Sierra Leone’s opposition party initially disputed the results and boycotted the government.

Government Imposes Curfew

The government of Sierra Leone has already announced the imposition of a curfew to enable the security forces to apprehend those behind the attempt to break into the military armory at the Wilberforce Barracks in the early morning hours of Sunday, November 26, 2023.

The government said it has succeeded to rebuff the radical elements.

Bio Confirms Attempted Insurrection

President Julius Maada Bio, whose re-election in June this year was greeted with condemnation and protests from the citizens and some quarters of the international community, told his citizens on his social media page that “unidentified individuals have been repelled by our gallant Security Forces and calm has been restored”.

“As the combined team of our Security Forces continue to root out the remnant of the fleeing renegades, a nationwide curfew has been declared and citizens are encouraged to stay indoors,” he stated further.

President Bio added: “The PEACE of our beloved NATION is PRICELESS and we shall continue to protect the peace and security of Sierra Leone against the forces that wish to truncate our much-cherished stability.

“We remain resolute in our determination to protect democracy in Sierra Leone and I urge all Sierra Leoneans to unite towards this collective responsibility”, President Bio said.

Government Announces Curfew

Earlier, in a press release issued by the Ministry of Information and Civic Education and signed by Chernoh Bah, Minister, the Government of Sierra Leone broke the news that there was a security breach at a major barracks but also stated that the public was assured that “the government and our state security forces are in control”.

“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.

“Please follow the official Ministry of Information and Civic Education channels and our official handles for accurate information and updates on the situation”, the release concluded.

Nucleus Trouble Area

Agency reports monitored by The Analyst have it that the main prison facility in Freetown was broken into and a number of prisoners were seen fleeing in all directions while gunshots could be heard from the background.

The reported security breach is the second major occurrence in recent time where the government has accused “some terrorists” of behind plots to unseat the government.

It can be recalled that earlier this year, the government of Liberia on the request of its Sierra Leonean counterpart, turned over a former Chief Superintendent of the Sierra Leonean police, Mohammed Yetey Turay to answer charges related to the security of the state.

ECOWAS Reacts

Meanwhile, in its swift reaction to the unfolding security situation in Sierra Leone, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in a press release from its Headquarters in Abuja said it learnt with utter disgust a plot by certain individuals to acquire arms and disturb the peace and constitutional order in Sierra Leone and condemned the act and called for the arrest and prosecution of all participants in this illegal act.

The regional body reiterated its zero-tolerance for unconstitutional change of government.

“ECOWAS further underscores its commitment to supporting the government and people of Sierra Leone to deepen democracy and good governance, consolidate peace and security as well as foster socio-economic development”, the release said.

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