18 March 2015

Sierra Leone: President Koroma Fires Vice President

President Ernest Bai Koroma has sacked his vice president, Samuel Sam-Samana, after he sought asylum in the U.S. embassy in Freetown, according to a statement from the presidency.

The embattled vice president sought asylum after soldiers surrounded his home over the weekend, reportedly on the orders of President Koroma. The ruling All People's Congress expelled him earlier in the month, citing a host of reasons, including giving false information about his master's degree and plotting frequent unrest in his eastern home district of Kono. Vice President Samana has denied the charges.

Sumana's expulsion came a few days after he had quarantined himself due to the death of one of his bodyguards from Ebola. He stood as the vice presidential candidate of the ruling party in the 2007 Sierra Leonean Presidential election, alongside current President Koroma.

According to Reuters, his sacking has stirred confusion as the country's constitution only allows the dismissal of the vice president with the vote of two-thirds majority of parliament.

The U.S. government has urged all sides to resolve the crisis "through appropriate procedures that respect due process and the rule of law". State Department spokesman Darby Holladay has denied reports that Vice President Sam-Sumana was being sheltered in the U.S. embassy in Freetown.

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