Sierra Leone Declares Curfew After Attack on Military Barracks
Unidentified Gunmen Target Sierra Leone Military Barracks
Sierra Leone has declared a nationwide curfew following an attack on a military barracks in the capital city of Freetown. Unidentified gunmen attempted to break into an armoury at the Wilberforce barracks, but the security forces successfully repelled the attack. The government has announced that they are in control of the situation.
Nationwide Curfew and Stay-At-Home Advisory
In response to the incident, the Sierra Leonean government has implemented a nationwide curfew. A statement from the information minister, Chernor Bah, urges citizens to stay indoors for their safety. The curfew is effective immediately and will remain in place until further notice.
Tensions Remain Following Disputed Election
The political climate in Sierra Leone has remained tense since the controversial re-election of President Julius Maada Bio in June. The main opposition candidate rejected the election result, leading to heightened tensions. Last August, anti-government protests resulted in the deaths of six police officers and at least 21 civilians. President Maada Bio characterized the protests as an attempted overthrow of the government.
President Urges Citizens to Stay Indoors
President Maada Bio took to his social media account to address the situation. He acknowledged a breach of security due to the attack on the military armoury. The president’s message emphasized the ongoing efforts of the security forces to apprehend the assailants. He urged citizens to comply with the curfew and stay indoors until the situation is fully resolved.
Challenges to Democracy in West and Central Africa
The incident in Sierra Leone highlights the broader challenges to democracy in West and Central Africa. Since 2020, the region has experienced eight military coups, undermining democratic progress. This trend is concerning for a region that had been making strides towards shedding its reputation as a “coup belt.”
Renegade Soldiers and Ongoing Gunfire
Despite the government’s control of the situation, sporadic gunfire can still be heard in the streets of Freetown near the barracks. A Reuters reporter encountered a group of renegade soldiers who asserted their determination to restore order but assured that ordinary civilians would not be targeted. The security forces continue their efforts to apprehend these renegades.
Reporting by Umaru Fofana
Writing by Bate Felix
Editing by David Goodman
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Read More of this Story at www.reuters.com – 2023-11-26 09:33:00
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