In late November 2023, Sierra Leone witnessed a series of attacks on military barracks and prisons in its capital, Freetown, marking a failed coup attempt, as confirmed by police and government officials. Information Minister Chernor Bah reported the arrest of 13 military officers and one civilian following these incidents, indicating a significant breach of national security​​.

President Julius Maada Bio addressed the nation, emphasizing the importance of maintaining peace and unity. He reassured the public that most of the attack’s leaders had been apprehended, reflecting the government’s swift response to the crisis. The attacks targeted major detention centers, including the Pademba Road prisons, leading to the escape of numerous inmates​​.

Among those arrested was Amadu Koita, identified as a key organizer of the coup attempt. Koita, a former soldier and bodyguard to ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma, was known for his critical stance against President Bio’s administration on social media. The assault involved attacks on a military armory, two other barracks, two prisons, and two police stations, resulting in the deaths of 21 individuals, including 14 soldiers​​.

This incident has raised concerns about the region’s stability, given the history of military coups in West and Central Africa since 2020. Sierra Leone’s main opposition party, the All People Congress, along with the U.S. State Department, condemned the attacks, calling for lawful accountability for those responsible​​.

The country, still recovering from a civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002, has been facing tensions since President Bio’s re-election in June, an outcome that was contested by the opposition and questioned by international observers. This political unrest, coupled with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and global events, has contributed to rising tensions within Sierra Leone.

For further details, please refer to the full articles on Al Jazeera, Reuters, and Medafrica Times.

Sierra Leone attacks were a failed coup attempt, officials say | Al Jazeera

Sierra Leone president says calm restored, most leaders of barracks attack detained | Reuters

Attempted coup in Sierra Leone: One of the organizers arrested – Medafrica Times

Sierra Leone information minister says weekend attack was a failed coup | Reuters