Sierra Leone: Prisoners Abducted During Sierra Leone Security Breach - Official

Ernest Koroma, former president of Sierra Leone (file photo).
26 November 2023

"The prisons were thus overrun. Some prisoners were abducted by the assailants while many others were released," he wrote on X.

Sierra Leone's Minister of Information and Civic Education, Chernor Bah has announced that some prisoners were abducted in a security breach that occurred on Sunday morning.

He said this in the wake of a reported failed attempt by some "unidentified individuals to break into a military armoury in the capital, Freetown. The government has since declared a nationwide curfew to forestall breakdown of security in the country.

"The prisons were thus overrun. Some prisoners were abducted by the assailants while many others were released," Mr Bah wrote on X on Sunday.

Mr Bah said the security forces have pushed back the assailants to the outskirts of the city and are currently engaged in the Jui area.

"Major detention centres including the Pademba Road Prisons were attacked earlier today and in the interest of protecting civilian lives (including of prisoners), the security forces were forced to make a tactical retreat," he said.

He assured that most of the city is calm and under control of the state security forces.

"The security forces are making progress in the operation to defeat and apprehend those responsible for today's attacks. The curfew remains in effect," Mr Bah added.

The security breach in Sierra Leone is occurring during a period of political uncertainty in many West and Central African countries with the resurgence of military coups. Coups have taken place in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad and Gabon in recent years.

In Sierra Leone, in August, two months after its disputed presidential election, the government announced the arrest of senior military officials who, according to the government, were working to undermine the peace and tranquility of the state and unleash violence on peaceful citizens of Sierra Leone.

On Sunday, President Julius Bio in a post on X acknowledged the latest development and said "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."

He added that his government remained resolute in its determination to protect democracy in Sierra Leone and urged all Sierra Leoneans to unite towards this collective responsibility.

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