Another military coup? Sierra Leone declares nationwide curfew after attack on barracks

The situation has been tense since the reelection of President Julius Maada Bio

Sierra Leone attack military on barracks (File) Sierra Leone's President and ruling party candidate Julius Maada Bio speaks to journalists in Freetown | Reuters

A nationwide curfew was declared on Sunday by Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio after unidentified gunmen attacked military barracks in the West African nation's capital, Freetown. The situation in Sierra Leone has been tense since the disputed re-election of Bio.

Taking to X, Bio said that unidentified gunmen attacked a military armoury within the barracks in the capital, Freetown, early morning. "They were driven back by security forces and calm has been restored," he added.

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 wrote.

Reportedly, some inmates from the central prison in Freetown had escaped and the authorities are investigating into the incident. So far, it is not clear how many had escaped the prison. Some of the videos that circulated in the social media revealed many people fleeing from the prison area, while gunshots were heard in the background. According to officials, the gunmen who attacked the military barracks later broke into the prison and freed the prisoners.

Sierra Leone's civil aviation authority had urged airlines to reschedule flights after the curfew was imposed.

The aviation authority said in a statement that passengers should be placed on the next available flights after the curfew is lifted. It added that the country's airspace remains open.

Bio was reelected for a second term in June amid opposition party's accusation of Sierra Leone's electoral commission of conspiring with his party.

Since the end of the 11-year brutal civil war, it was the fifth presidential election held in the nation.

Since 2020, there have been eight military coups in West and Central Africa. Bio has been facing criticism because of weakening economic conditions. The nation is battling severe poverty, youth unemployment among other issues.

On the latest attack, the US embassy in Freetown said in a statement that such actions were not justified.


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