ECOWAS will deploy troops in Sierra Leone as President Bio loses moral authority to govern

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 November 2023:

President Julius Maada Bio on Monday received a delegation from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Commission and the Government of Nigeria, following Sunday’s round of heavy gunfire, prisons breakout and the arrest and killing of dozens of members of the opposition including political prisoners, many of whom were awaiting trial. The government, yesterday said that last Sunday’s armed attack was an attempted coup.

Photo above: President Bio and visiting ECOWAS Commission in Freetown.

The West African delegation, including Nigeria’s National Security Adviser, Malam Nuhu Ribadu, Nigeria’s Chief of Defense Staff, General Christopher Musa, its Chief of Defence Military Intelligence, Major General Emmanuel Udiandeye and President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, were in Sierra Leone as a show of support to the people of Sierra Leone who are now getting used to “intermittently staged coups” aimed at flushing out the opposition.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that the leadership of the APC including former President Koroma, whose personal security staff were either killed or arrested by government soldiers on Sunday, had called West African leaders to raise alarm at the breakdown in law and order in the country and the targeting of his APC party by security forces.

Whilst expressing solidarity with the people of Sierra Leone, the delegation expressed serious concern at the growing insecurity in the country which could lead to war and anarchy.

The Sierra Leone Telegraph also understands that President Bio was told by the ECOWAS delegation that they will deploy ECOMOG troops on the ground in Sierra Leone, if the government fails to guarantee the peace, safety and tranquillity of the people of Sierra Leone.

The delegation spoke of ECOWAS commitment in preserving democracy and good governance across the sub-region, and assured the people of Sierra Leone of ECOWAS’s readiness to work with the government to preserve the hard-won peace achieved after a brutal civil war that came to an end with the intervention of ECOWAS and the UN in 2001.

Special envoy, Nuhu Ribadu said the Chair of the ECOWAS Authority, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of Nigeria shares this commitment. “President Tinubu is a life-long defender of democracy and will always stand by what is right. He will defend democracy, good governance, justice and freedom. The events yesterday have touched Nigeria directly. Nigeria is with Sierra Leone, ECOWAS is with Sierra Leone,” he said.

Nigerian reinforcements ECOMOG peacekeeping troops arrive on May 28, 1997 at Lungi International Airport in Freetown with a Nigerian airfoce Hercules cargo shuttling troops, ammunition and supplies following the military coup in Sierra Leone. (Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images)

President of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Touray warned President Bio to ensure that his security forces do not go after the opposition in retribution.

“ECOWAS stands ready to support Sierra Leone’s national security, including deploying a standby force if need be. I want to call on the people of Sierra Leone to be law-abiding.

“I will also appeal to the security forces to follow the rule of law and don’t engage in witch-hunt. ECOWAS calls on all stakeholders to promote dialogue,” urging the government to ensure that security measures being deployed after Sunday’s armed attack “do not infringe on fundamental rights and freedoms and do not impact negatively on national cohesion.”

In response, President Bio said: “My government’s commitment to democracy, justice, the well-being and safety of our citizens remains unwavering. Sierra Leone’s leadership position in key institutions across the globe will be preserved.

“We are deeply thankful for the tremendous outpouring of support from key allies around the region and world. We shall continue to work towards preserving and promoting the priceless peace that we have enjoyed as a country since the end of our unfortunate decade-long civil war 21 years ago.

“Some of us have fought for this country and must protect it. We have seen the consequences of war and when I see people creating the conditions for war, it saddens me. Ever since I won in 2018, it has been one issue after the other. We have made gains in so many areas despite the binding constraints we have been confronted with as a nation, including our deep-seated politics.

“My party campaigned extensively and won the 2023 elections, but when the results were announced, the main opposition could not accept it. We agreed to dialogue all in the name of peace, and yet again, they decided to cause mayhem. This is not the first time, they did it on August 10, holding weapons and killing police officers, and yet, called it a civil protest.

“Our combined forces, together with the good people of Sierra Leone, stood firm yesterday in defence of peace, stability and democracy. That is the legacy we must protect, and our national security matters most. The focus of my administration is food security, which is a development imperative,” Bio told the ECOWAS delegation.

But despite President Bio’s assurances, concerns are growing among ECOWAS leaders about President Bio’s appalling and deteriorating human rights record which until last Sunday, shows that his security forces have killed over 200 unarmed citizens during peaceful protests.

Many in Sierra Leone and the international community believe that President Bio has lost the moral authority to rule Sierra Leone, and the rigging of the June 24, 2023 election results by the electoral commission to keep President Bio power is now the cause of much political instability in the country. President Bio has refused to publish the results of the election which he claimed to have won.


  1. The recent fabrications by the government showing a picture of an alleged coup plotter in tight jeans, which is unsuitable for military operations, who as a former commander with battle experience, would wear appropriate clothing highlights the genocidal mania of the SLPP. I blame Ernest Koroma. By letting them get away with the execution of 24 army officers, the burning in the streets of Temnes, such as Abu Black and Musa Kabia, the killing of moderate Mendes emboldened these killers. Finally, we created the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),not the Community of Nigerian Masters and slaves. We have nothing in common with Nigeria. We are Mandes, Fulani and Songhai with West Atlantic people. Its time we consider SLEXIT. Leave the Nigerians to their nonsense. Bunch of crooks, criminals, and betrayer of the PanAfrucan cause.

  2. When you steal elections and you rule by subterfuge, violence, spilling of innocent blood , deceit and tribal divisions, you indeed lose the moral authority to govern. This is a brilliant commentary, Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas. Good that the Sierra Leone Telegraph and the Organizer newspapers are telling it as it is.

    While it is gratifying that ECOWAS has promised the dictator military support, I think they could and should have done more.

    Many people think that Bio stage-managed the so-called coup attempt ( As you have been hinting too ) to gain undeserved sympathy and to abort the forthcoming investigations into the June 24 elections and the Recommendations 3 and 4 of the Communique. The saddest thing is that our so-called moral guarantors and stakeholders have still not become wise to the gimmicks of Maada Bio, especially ECOWAS. ECOWAS should have delved more deeply into the problems in Sierra Leone before promising Bio military assistance.

    HERE ARE EXCERPTS of an Editorial I published in the Cocorioko newspaper today :

    “However, while Sierra Leoneans continue demonstrating that they prefer democracy over illegal seizures of power, they know that their country has deep-seated problems, the principal one being the illegal Bio government which they hate with a passion, because of the heinous things it has done and the needless blood it has shed, while destroying the economy, since it came to power in 2018. The expectation of Sierra Leoneans is that those who label themselves stakeholders and moral guarantors of good governance, peace and stability, like ECOWAS, would acknowledge these facts and help them genuinely and sincerely solve these daunting problems. The least the Sierra Leoneans expect is for the stakeholders themselves to connive with Maada Bio to exacerbate their sufferings and cause Bio to continue to oppress, suppress and rob them blind with impunity. Yet, it seems like this is the modus operandi of the morally-bankrupt ECOWAS.”

    “The gunfire had hardly subsided in Freetown when ECOWAS sent a high-powered delegation to Sierra Leone to sympathize with Bio and promise him a standby force to protect his government, if necessary. ECOWAS did absolutely nothing to sit down with Bio, examine the incident from a neutral point of view and find out why the shooting occurred and if there was an advise they could have given Bio to avoid the chaos recurring—Or whether in fact it was stage-managed. They just blindly supported the man and his government. So, why would Bio not continue to expatiate the spirit of impunity in Sierra Leone ? ECOWAS just gave him a blank check to continue killing innocent people, mismanage the economy and steal more elections. Whatever happens, whether it is his fault or not, they will support him militarily.What if it is a genuine uprising and the Sierra Leonean people do not want Bio anymore ? Will ECOWAS impose him on them ? “

    • Kabs, you particularly don’t need to mention the “TERM DICTATORSHIP”, I don’t even believe if you’re talking with sense my friend. After more than two decades, APC turned Sierra Leone into a banana-cake one party state. From Tejan Kabba to Kerfa Smart, all of them were in exile, I don’t even think if you know a single story about this country, maybe I will refer you to read the (short history of Sierra Leone) please talk about your terrorist group called APC.

  3. Thanks to the ECOWAS who then lieutenant Maada Bio fought with in his early 20’s during the war in Liberia. I personally believe that President Bio is a BORN LEADER who had decided to sacrificed his life to defend and protect our nation instead of pursuing university education. With the help of the almighty, he helped redeem our country from 25 years of one party APC dictatorship which is still very difficult for the APC to forget. Fortunately, within 90 days as leader , democracy was restored in our beloved nation, which gave him the title of “The father of our democracy”. He immediately pursued his educational career in the United States and Great Britain (which he earlier postponed to redeem his country from the APC) .
    Since his reemergence as leader in 2018 through the ballot box, the APC party has never accepted that they had lost the election and promised to “make the country ungovernable”, but through the leadership and resilience of our citizens, President Bio has been awarded the 2022 African of the year and 2023 African President of the year. He has earned those achievements based on the challenges he has and continues to overcome from the destructive forces within the APC party. Some of the information we are receiving point directly to the lifetime leader of the APC. It is now evident that even his past and present bodyguards or security officers who supposed to be with him at his residence in Makeni City have been killed or captured in Freetown where the coup attempt occurred.
    Let’s hope and pray that the processes and procedures that were applied to late rebel leader Foday Sankoh of the RUF who destroyed our country for 10 years, will also be applied to the lifetime leader of the APC, Earnest Bai Koroma, who is still continuing to “make our country ungovernable” since 2018.
    Finally, ECOWAS should commend our gallant security forces that have drawn the line on the sand that democracy and the rule of law will prevail in our region.

    • Who could tell me when will ECOWAS call off their bluff and intervene in Niger as announced from the rooftop by Mr cold-feet and 37% President Tinubu from Nigeria? We all know Nigeria is the ECOWAS attack dog/rottweiler. I guess his plate is full of IPOB,Boko Haram,Islamic State-linked ISWAP and other disparate groups of marauding so-called bandits causing mayhem in Northern Nigeria.

      Couple that with the free-falling Naira and over 50% inflation mirroring Sierra Leone since the former drug lord occupied Aso Rock in Naija, i believe Nigeria’s hands are tied firmly behind its back and is treading more on a slippery slope than Sierra  Leone even. Under such curcumstances, Nigerians would be living in a fool’s paradise if they dare engage in yet another military adventure in Sierra Leone. It is a moot point whether their previous interventions in the 80s and 90s in Liberia and Sierra Leone were a success.  You would have thought charity begins at home.

      Anyone who bothers to keep a risk register will tell you that Nigeria is more at risk of implosion and a military coup even more than Sierra Leone. ECOWAS has more a chance of calling off their bluffs and intervening in Nigeria than in Sierra Leone.

      I take pride in making hints at what to come in the future and seeing such things come to pass. I guessed an ethnic minority Prime Minister in The UK, a fudge or deal between Bio and Samura, a possible George Oppong Weah defeat in Liberia and so on.

      Just to digress further, i am at a loss how the BBC of all people are not getting the facts in Sierra Leone right. I know they are trying to help out their stringer Umaru Fofana by forcing him to collaborate with the Nigerian Mayeni Jones but i believe it is still short of their high journalistic standards. A team from BBC fact-checker, BBC Verify, BBC African Eye or BBC Panorama could easily shed a laser light on what really occured in Sierra Leone in the wee hours of the morning of Sunday November 26.

      Money talks and the oficers at Wilberforce Barracks and Pademba Road Prison will surely be singing if they dangle bundles of shiny Bank of England’s pounds sterling in front of them. They will reveal the names of loyalist soldiers killed if any, video clips of the security breachers caught in the act and filmed either by the security setup or citizen journalists in the vicinity of the armory or prisons if at all there was a breach. They will also be curious to know the fate of a Journalist who was reported to have been killed in the area. Was it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and considered a possible information leak-source?

      Why was the online newspaper of one of the APC party’s most ardent mouthpieces in America hacked? I am no fan of Cocorioko and his Editor but will always like to read out of intellectual curiosity all of Sierra Leone’s online newspapers including the SLPP’s Global times. I love separating the seed from the chaff. I am curious to know how Cocorioko as a newspaper is changing its news agenda, framing and leaning now that the APC is now in opposition. By the same token, the same interest and curiosity will be aroused about the SLPP’s Global Times when fortunes are eventually reversed.

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