President Bio declares nationwide curfew as capital remains tense

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 November 2023:

President Bio of Sierra Leone has this morning declared curfew as the country’s military and armed police take to the streets to stabilise the capital, following an attempted coup by unknown persons.

Addressing the nation through his Facebook page, president Bio whose whereabout is still unknown, said: “Fellow Sierra Leoneans, I bring you greetings from the Presidential Lodge in Freetown. In the early hours of this morning, there was a breach of security at the Military Barracks at Wilberforce in Freetown, as some unidentified individuals attacked the military armoury.

“However, they were repelled by our gallant Security Forces and calm has been restored. As the combined team of our Security Forces continues to route out the remnant of the fleeing renegades, a nationwide curfew has been declared and citizens are encouraged to stay indoors.

“The PEACE of our beloved NATION is PRICELESS and we shall continue to protect the peace and security of Sierra Leone against the forces that wish to truncate our much-cherished stability.

“We remain resolute in our determination to protect democracy in Sierra Leone and I urge all Sierra Leoneans to unite towards this collective responsibility. Long Live The Republic of Sierra Leone.”

Presidential and general elections were held five months ago which have left the West African nation deeply politically divided and unstable.

The country’s main opposition APC and international elections observers have accused the national electoral commission of stealing the votes in favour of President Bio who is now serving his second term in office.

Sierra Leone’s economy is in deep trouble, with inflation running at over 60%.

Prices of basic foods and essential household goods are now beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, over 70% of whom are unemployed.

Sierra Leoneans are heavily dependent on imported goods for their survival. The value of the Leone has fallen by over 50% every year, since President Bio came to power in 2018,. Most Sierra Leoneans wanted a change of government at the ballot box in June 2023 but were denied.

In the last twelve months there has been no fewer than three coup attempts at toppling the Bio government, followed by the arrest of several retired and serving security officers whose fate is still unknown.

Today’s coup attempt does not come as a surprise. And it is predicted there is more to come, until the democratic will and civil liberty of the people are granted.

A few weeks ago, the opposition APC signed a peace accord with the ruling SLPP. Including an agreement for the release of all political prisoners. Since then there has been no genuine attempt by president Bio to implement the accord.

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