Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 January 2024:
Twelve people accused of planning and staging what the government of Sierra Leone says was an attempted coup on 26th November 2023, made their first appearance yesterday at a magistrate court in Freetown, where they were charged with various treason offences including harbouring, aiding and abetting the enemy.
Prominent among the accused are former military, police and correctional officers including Amadu Koita.
Bai Mahmoud Bangura who is a senior executive member of the main opposition APC party, has also been charged with treason, but was unable to attend court yesterday due to illness.
According to the statement published yesterday by the country’s ministry of information, the hearing has been adjourned to 9th of January 2024.
Former President Ernest Bai Koroma who is under house arrest in his home in Freetown, suspected by police of association with some of the accused, has still not been charged with any offence relating to the alleged coup.
Police say that several of the suspects were serving bodyguards or members of staff of the former President Koroma, who has strongly denied any involvement or knowledge of the alleged attempted coup.
In 1992, President Bio (Photo) was involved in a bloody military coup as one of the leaders of the NPRC Junta that went on to execute 29 people without due legal process, including senior military and police officers – a crime critics have said should be investigated by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The 29 April 1992 NPRC coup against the APC government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, was led by Captain Valentine Strasser, amid a raging rebel war, when disgruntled government soldiers complained of economic hardship and non-payment of salary.
Families of many of those executed by the Bio-NPRC military junta had called on former President Koroma to order the arrest and put on trial all those responsible for the extra-judicial killing of 29 people, including Julius Maada Bio who is now the president.
Instead of acceding to those requests, former President Koroma chose the path of peace and reconciliation in order to safeguard the country’s hard-won peace.
Today, former President Koroma is himself under house arrest, accused by President Bio of involvement in an alleged attempted coup of November 26, 2023, which critics say was a stage-manged coup by President Bio, used as a pretext to try to destroy the opposition APC party and its leadership.
According to lawyers representing the former president, no evidence has been found linking former President Koroma to the alleged attempted coup, after three appearances at the Police Criminal Investigations Department in Freetown.