Political crisis in Sierra Leone deepens as senior army officers are arrested

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 01 August 2023:

Several senior military officers have been arrested in Sierra Leone, after weeks of political instability following the conclusion of presidential and general elections held on 24th of June 2023.

According to a statement published by the police yesterday, the senior military officers were among several people arrested and detained by the police, suspected of plotting to use a planned public protest next week “to launch violent attacks on state institutions and citizens”.

Stopping short of referring to the alleged attacks as a coup against the government, the police said that: “Preliminary investigations have revealed that these individuals planned to use purported peaceful protests between 7th and 10th August 2023, as a guise to unleash violent attacks against state institutions and peaceful citizens.”

President Bio did not attend last week’s ECOWAS leaders meeting in Abuja, as security around the president and State House remains tense.

Speaking at a press conference held at police headquarters yesterday, the police did not disclose the names of those arrested and the  number of officers involved.

But these arrests do not come as a surprise to many political analysts who have been writing about fractured relationships between State House and senior military officers in Sierra Leone, who are deeply concerned about the current political crisis in the country that has been triggered by what international and local election observers have described as “rigged election results” announced by the Electoral Commission..

President Julius Maada Bio was declared winner of the presidential elections at the first round of ballots in June, but the actual disaggregated polling station results have been hidden from the public by the Chief Electoral Commissioner – Mohamed Konneh, prompting accusations of electoral fraud.

The main opposition APC party and the international community are calling for the publication of all polling station results to ensure transparency and to verify the legitimacy of the Bio-led government.

Sierra Leone is regionally and tribally divided, and this polarity runs across all facets of public life – including the military and police, where it is thought that senior officers are deeply dissatisfied with the political impasse caused by the election fallout between the ruling SLPP whose political heartland is in the southeast, and the main opposition APC from the northwest of the country.

The country’s economy is in serious trouble, with inflation running at 49% and youth unemployment increasing year on year with no sign in sight of an effective government response.

Foreign investors are shying away from the country, following President Bio’s recent crackdown on protesters which has seen over one hundred people gunned down in cold blood.

Elected members of parliament, local councillors and mayors representing the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party are boycotting all political involvement and engagement with the government, including abstention from the country’s parliament, until all polling station results have been published, or a re-run of the elections is conducted under the leadership of a new chief electoral officer.

With several West African nations including neighbouring Guinea, Mali, Burkina Faso and now Niger under the grip of disgruntled military leaders who justify their intervention with evidence of corruption by the ruling elites, poor governance and growing poverty, countries like Sierra Leone will continue to face political instability and threats of military coups if election crises and question of legitimacy are left unresolved.

This is the statement published yesterday by Sierra Leone police:


  1. There’s no level-headed individual in the whole world that would be envious of this corrupt, amoral, ignoble President, that once roamed as a hungry, wretched beggar in the freezing, icy cold streets of the United Kingdom; Maada Bio is a devious, cunning opportunist that should now currently be serving a lengthy time behind bars for the atrocities and war crimes he has committed against the poor people of Sierra Leone; What goes around, always comes around…we must remember…we will always reap what our hands have sown; Yes indeed, whatever thoughts or energies we consciously put out in hatred and anger , we will certainly get back coming to us, swiftly and unhindered like a returning boomerang – good or bad.
    Folks, consider this: if this tribalist President once had the audacity to conspire, connive and overthrow a god-fearing, temperate, legitimate, APC leader…why must he now be ruffled, and afraid of having the same ugly, repulsive thing done to him also, in return? The same wolf that ransacked a farmers poultry barn, grabbed some chickens and bolts away must also remember that a day will certainly come when the grieving, heartbroken farmers long range rifle will surely find him, even from a hundred miles away; Such are the ways of existence…today you may win in joy, and tomorrow you can lose in sadness and utter regret;
    Those who are quite familiar with the workings of the laws of karma will quickly tell you that it never fails to accomplish its eventual purpose of paying back in full the cruelest perpetrators that are guilty of committing horrific crimes against humanity like Maada Bio…and it also conscientiously rewards those also who have bathed and clothed themselves daily, with good and kind works toward their neighbors. Fear and anxiety cannot save this President from accountability…they will only make matters worse for him…we must reap what our own hands have already sown…no two ways about it…no escaping…no evading…now tell the Chief schemer Maada Bio that is a Law! Nowhere to run.

  2. It’s obvious that one cannot totally divorce ethnic sympathies from politics. However, it is certainly true that those pointing out flaws in the character or composition of a government are also inclined to or perhaps deeply entrenched in ethnic bigotry themselves. Some will preach objectivity on one forum/commentary and espouse vicious bigotry on the other. I am a Sierra Leonean of mixed heritage and grew up in the East of the country, all through out my secondary schools days I hang out with Fulas, Temnes, and Mandingoes and others. We spoke Krio, not once we questioned each other’s ethnicity or region of origin. Yet, most of the Temnes I knew were born in Kenema or Tongo Field and hardly spoke the language. The trend of politics in Sierra Leone nowadays is taking a dangerous turn, it is not logical to categorically single out an ethnic group as the main source of discord in a country. Therefore, those advocating and defending coups within the sub-region should wake up from the misguided comatose. In my lifetime I have not seen any African military take power and dash the opposition party without a consequence (Brigadier John Bangura & Siaka Stevens). Once power is tasted by the military it will not be wrestled away from them without some arm twisting. So I 100% support military intervention in Africa even though human and material cost will be involved. Stability is a must for any economic development….

  3. Please educate me about “democratic opposition” in the Mende language. If it is not in one’s psyche, language, culture, and upbringing, it is difficult to acquire as you age, especially if you are carrying the threat and burden of criminal offences – including murders and misappropriations of public funds – being investigated. I am reminded of William Shakespeare who wrote “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is often interred with their bones. Seton During, London, UK.

  4. The Bio government is behaving like a criminal on the run, he sees law enforcement officers everywhere, he trusts no one, fearing betrayal, his world becomes very narrow, he worries about friends who may be defectors-in-place, he sinks into theories and fabrications about how his capture will be implemented. Finally the criminal worries about the nature and consequences of his captivity.

    In a previous piece, soon after Bio was declared the winner of the presidency, I wrote that Bio would become an inmate in an open prison; his absence from the ECOWAS conference in Nigeria is slight evidence of my contention. After all the conference was about the ousting of a democratically elected president in Niger. That was the writing on the wall for Bio who was not democratically re-elected. He feared that if he left the country he could become a president without a country.

    The arrest of military officers on allegation of wanting to stage a coup should be a stark reminder of the Siaka Stevens’ one-party state era when trumped up and fabricated charges were brought against opponents or imaginary opponents of the regime and executed; witnesses were made to memorise pre-written statements to make conviction a certainty.

    All non-Mende military officers should become extremely wary of the Bio government to avoid being targeted or fingered for elimination. Bio’s biggest problem right now is how to reinstate the death penalty having abolished it a few years ago. He replaced it with sending in his demented security forces to massacre people in cold blood .The arrested military officers could face summary execution in the same way as all those Bio has killed hitherto. I pray and hope that I am wrong.

  5. Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t hold-up my heart, I must comment. APC are playing with fire in this country again. Inciting the military against their country, good stuff, but remember” William Shakespeare’s play….”When shall we three meet again, in thunder, lightning or in rain?” The audience know the witches will meet again when the weather on stage changes. This is a clever device used by Shakespeare to create a cold and evil tone on stage. This is important as the play is a tragedy so the opening scene reflects to this evil thinking.

    Ernest Koroma, you have been in power before, and you know how powerful that office is. No more words.

  6. Macbeth. Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!
    Macbeth does murder sleep’, the innocent sleep,695
    Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care,
    The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath,
    Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,
    Chief nourisher in life’s feast,—
    Lady Macbeth. What do you mean?700
    Macbeth. Still it cried ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house:
    ‘Glamis hath murder’d sleep, and therefore Cawdor
    Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more.’

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