Sierra Leone Telegraph: 30 December 2023:
United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone – Bryan David Hunt (Photo above with president Bio) has spoken out against all forms of state impunity and collective punishment in Sierra Leone, after scores of people connected to the country’s main opposition APC party were arrested and detained, following an alleged attempted coup on 26 November 2023, including former president Ernest Bai Koroma who is currently serving house arrest.
Speaking on AYV television this week, the US ambassador said that ongoing judicial investigation into the alleged coup must not be conflated with the ongoing peace dialogue between the government and the opposition APC, and calls for all involved to continue the implementation of the signed peace accord which was brokered by the international community to end months of political chaos and uncertainty in the country.
“There is a judicial process that is going on to find out who were responsible for November 26th. Whoever was involved in that needs to be held accountable under Sierra Leone law,” including those responsible for supporting or financing the 26 November shootings in Freetown.
The ambassador is coming under heavy criticism from SLPP government supporters for saying that he does not believe the opposition APC could have been involved in the 26 November incident.
“I don’t believe that any legitimate political actor in Sierra Leone would back what happened on November 26,” suggesting that those who may have supported the incident did so in their personal capacity rather than under the auspices of a political party.
“When we talk about the investigation for November 26th, we’re talking about investigating and holding accountable individuals for their individual actions. Sierra Leone does not believe in collective punishment, nor does the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So we do not punish a political party or any organization for the individual actions of its members.”
You can watch the ambassador speaking: