Sierra Leone Telegraph: 24 December 2023:
Fears are growing over the health and human rights of former president Ernest Bai Koroma who is locked up under house arrest by President Bio, following allegations of attempted coup against the government.
Since 26 November 2023 when according to the government, a group of people attacked the country’s main military ammunition stores in Wilberforce, Freetown, and also released over a thousand prisoners at Pademba Road Prisons, scores of supporters and leaders of the main opposition APC party have been arrested and detained without charge, despite calls for charges to either be brought against them, or secure their immediate release.
A signed peace accord between the government, the opposition APC and the international community is at serious risk of unravelling, as the government is accused of refusing to abide by the terms of the agreement.
Sections of the leadership of the APC have made it clear, there will never be peace in Sierra Leone, as long as the president and his ruling SLPP party continue to embark on a strategy of destroying the APC by arresting and killing its leaders and supporters.
This meassge is reverberating across the corridors of the regional body – the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Yesterday, Saturday 23rd December 2023, a high-level ECOWAS delegation comprising of President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, Dr. Omar Alieu Touray – President of the ECOWAS Commission, and Dr. Abdel-Fatau Musah – ECOWAS Commissioner of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, arrived in Freetown where they held closed door talks with former President Ernest Bai Koroma at his Femi Tuner resident in Goderich, after their meeting with President Bio at State House.
According to State House media report in Freetown, the high-level discussions with President Bio was aimed at reviewing the political situation in Sierra Leone after the alleged 26th November 2023 “failed attempted coup”.
State House also said that yesterday’s meeting was “a follow-up to the visit on 27th November 2023 of a delegation from the ECOWAS Commission and the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is also in line with decisions reached at the 64th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government held on 10th December 2023 in Abuja, Federal Republic of Nigeria, which discussed the political situation in the sub-region and adopted special resolutions, including the decision to deploy a security mission to Sierra Leone.
“The team is also in the country to get updates on the country’s current political situation and to determine what further assistance ECOWAS could render to the government to strengthen peace and security. The ECOWAS delegation also used the occasion to reiterate their condemnation of the attempted coup, hailed the bravery of the security forces and commended the government of President Julius Maada Bio for swiftly addressing the country’s security situation and for taking steps to defend peace, democracy, and constitutional order.”