Soldiers killed in action on 26 November laid to rest in Freetown as alleged coup leader is arrested

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 6 December 2023:

President Julius Maada Bio today joined mourners, family members, well-wishers and Sierra Leoneans at the inter-faith funeral service of 18 security personnel killed during what has been described by the government as “a failed attempted coup in Freetown” on 26 November, 2023.

The President stated that those killed in action, among them 15 members of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, 2 officers of the Sierra Leone Police and a member of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, “stood steadfast in the face of treachery. They paid the ultimate sacrifice by standing fearlessly against the forces of anarchy and tyranny that threatened to engulf The Land That We Love…”

He added: “Fellow mourners, we gather here today, under the weight of immense grief, to honour our brave Military and Police Officers who lost their lives defending our democracy against the forces of darkness during the failed attempted coup of November 26th, 2023.

“Today, we stand united in grief. We stand not just as mourners but as bearers of a sacred duty, a solemn responsibility to honour our fallen comrades. Their attackers, in their cowardly and selfish acts, sought not only to subvert our democracy but to shatter the trust of our people, the trust in our Military and Police Officers, and the trust in our nation”.

President Julius Maada Bio reminded that each one of the gallant officers had pledged to defend the constitution and the nation, stressing that, “their unwavering commitment to their duty, loyalty to our country, and steadfast courage in the face of danger will forever be etched in our hearts”.

“As your Commander-In-Chief, I feel this tragedy’s weight, burden, and sorrow. These Officers were my responsibility, my brothers in arms, my family in service. The pain of losing these brave officers is our collective pain as a nation. It is the pain of a mother losing her son, a sibling losing a brother, a child losing a father, a wife losing a husband, and a friend losing a dear friend,” he said and vowed that their sacrifice would not be in vain.

“I assure you that everyone who has a hand in the cowardly act of November 26th that led to the death of these men will not escape the full weight of the law.

“Our resolve stands unshakable and fierce”. “We will pursue justice for each of them with relentless determination, irrespective of the power or position of their cowardly assailants,” he promised.

The Chief of Defense Staff, Lieutenant General Peter K. Lavahun, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, William Fayia Sellu, and the Director General of the Sierra Leone Correctional Service, Colonel Sulaiman Sheikh Massaquoi also paid solemn tributes for and on behalf of their institutions they head.

The inter-faith funeral service was officiated by the Chief Imam of the Maritime Wing of the RSLAF, Major S.Y. Kamara from the Muslim faith and Lt. Colonel B. S. Lebbie from the Christian faith.

Chairman and leader of the opposition APC – Dr Samura Kamara wrote on Twitter this afternoon: “My fellow Sierra Leoneans, Today we pay tribute to the 18 servicemen and all the brave souls who lost their lives defending our young democracy during the failed coup attempt on November 26.

“Their courage and sacrifice embody the spirit of our nation. We remember and honour each one of them. I am especially glad for their service to our native land. It’s unfortunate that they had to die. May God put them in a better place-in His Merciful Hands. Thank you for your sacrifice.”

According to the government, 57 people are now in police custody helping with their investigation, including former bodyguard of former President Ernest Bai Koroma – Amadu Koita who is reported to have been caught hiding in the cellar of a senior female police officer – Alima Bangura.

“One of the organizers of the failed November 26 coup attempt, Amadu Koita, who was at the top of the wanted list, was arrested yesterday (Monday) at 11:30 pm,” Information Minister Chernor Bah told a press conference in Freetown.

Information Minister Chernor Bah has also disclosed that Alima Bangura, worked at the  INTERPOL desk and the West Africa Police Information Systems at CID headquarters  in Freetown..

CCTV photo released today by the information ministry (Photo below) appears to show Amadu Koita and a senior police officer Kabba Dumbuya who is also wanted by police, carrying guns. The date and time shown on the photo is 26th November 2023, at about 8.29 am.  This the government says is clear evidence of Koita being one of the ring leaders of the alleged failed coup. The investigations continue.



  1. Our hearts to out to the families of the fallen who have died unnecessarily because of the wickedness of others. Sierra Leoneans are not interested in whether this was a coup or not but the fact that some evil people tried to break in to places they had no business in causing panic amongst the rest of us.
    To be debating about whether this was a coup or not is nonsensical when the death of these 18 security officers alone is an act of murder under the laws of Sierra Leone with severe penalties in fact before the abolition of the death penalty such capital crimes if found guilty carries the death penalty by the courts.
    May their souls rest in peace

  2. Where are the CCTV clips at Wilberforce and Pademba Road prisons to shame us doubters and force us to make a grovelling apology and mea culpa? An apology not because of a brave attempt to reverse Bio’s constitutional “PHD” coup but because some of us are saying it was not a coup in the first place. A released still picture of the allegged ringleader does not tell you much in this stone age of ubiquitous photoshopping. Deepfake technology could also cast a shadow on some videos but dirt-poor Sierra Leone is beyond its reach. Names of fallen loyal soldiers have been published and their corpses displayed,however, no one can tell whether they died in battle defending the Government or they were even killed extra-judicially by the Government as they they were deemed to pose a security threat.
    Send BBC panorama to get into the bottom of all this. I could only stop my doubts, criticism and cynicism of the Government’s narrative if, and only if, CCTV footage is released graphically showing the chain of events that unfolded in the wee hours of Sunday the 26th November 2023. Anytime you see Bio leaving Lungi Airport with dark shades, just know that something is up his sleeve.

    Having said that, may the souls of all those who lost their lives in this senseless killings and all those extra-judicially kiĺled since Bio found a job at last in 2018 after 20 years in the wilderness rest in peace. Any one extra-judicial killing in Sierra Leone since 2018 is one too many. Bio is blaming everyone on earth except himself for the status quo. He has never afforded himself a moment of reflection and introspection to see if he is the problem. My blood boils whenever i hear him talk about defending Democracy. We have witnessed democratic gains-reversals and backsliding at an accelerated monumental rate since he came to power. In the meantime, despite raising the national debt to the highest-ever level of almost $4billion dollars and counting, our GDP per capita is presently worse than that of under the other old soldier Joseph Saidu Momoh in the 80s. Inflation and currency depreciation have trebled since Bio came to power. Economic growth has almost halved. Pray tell me what positives can we garner from Bio’s rule? Econonmy-fail; Peace-fail; Security-fail.

    I am not boasting of a 6th sense but discerning historical patterns will tell me we are witnessing dominoes and ripples of Bio’s making akin to 60s,80s and 90s Sierra Leone. It is all well and good to believe in living a charmed life but eventually the luck runs out a la Doe, Charles Taylor, Gbabor,Yaya Jammeh, Campaore, Gadďaffi et al.

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