Sierra Leone: Former President Ernest Koroma to be Questioned Over Failed Coup

Sierra Leone-Guinea border map (screenshot).
8 December 2023

Harare — Former president Ernest Bai Koroma will be questioned by authorities for his alleged involvement in a botched coup  in Sierra Leone on November 26, 2023.

Koroma has promised his cooperation with the police, Information Minister Chernor Bah reportedly said.

In November 2023, gunmen opened fire on a military barracks, a prison and other targets in Sierra Leone, releasing over 2,200 prisoners and killing over 20 people in what the government later claimed was an effort to topple the government.

President Julius Maada Bio's administration claimed that the former president's bodyguards were largely responsible for the attempted coup. Shortly afterward, Koroma issued a statement denouncing the attacks.

At least 71 people were reportedly detained thus far, as part of the continuing inquiry. These include 45 active military personnel, 7 active law enforcement officers, and 13 civilians.

After a contentious election in June 2023 that saw Bio re-elected, despite concerns from U.S. and EU election monitors, tensions have been rising in the West African country.

The opposition All People's Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara rejected the results, calling the election illegitimate. Along with the economic effects of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, the nation has also experienced protests against rising food prices. In August 2022, police opened fire on protesters.

In August 2023, a growing number of countries criticised the number of coups in Africa.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who is chair of the West African regional bloc Ecowas, is concerned at the "autocratic contagion" spreading in Africa and is working with world leaders and the African Union to resolve it, presidential spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale said.

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