Coup attempt in Sierra Leone: ex-President Koroma heard by police

Former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma presented himself to the police in Freetown on Friday, December 8, to be questioned about what the government described as an “attempted coup d'état” on November 26, noted an AFP journalist

Coup attempt in Sierra Leone: ex-President Koroma heard by police

Former Sierra Leonean President Ernest Bai Koroma presented himself to the police in Freetown on Friday, December 8, to be questioned about what the government described as an “attempted coup d'état” on November 26, noted an AFP journalist.

Mr Koroma, who ruled Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2018, arrived at the police criminal investigations department at around 10 a.m. (local time and GMT) under heavy military and police escort. A few dozen of his supporters were waiting for him there, according to an AFP journalist. The duration of his hearing was not specified. The predecessor of the current president, Julius Maada Bio, was summoned on Thursday to go to the police in Freetown, the capital, within twenty-four hours.

“I am keeping an open mind and stand ready to cooperate fully with the police in their investigations. The rule of law must reign supreme in our democracy,” said Mr. Koroma, quoted in a press release published by his services on Thursday. He called for calm and asked the population to support the police investigations in this press release.

Multiplication

Former guards of Mr. Koroma are, according to the Sierra Leonean authorities, suspected of having participated in the unrest of November 26. In the early hours of that day, men attacked a military armory, two barracks, two prisons and two police stations. The fighting left 21 dead, 18 members of the security services and three attackers, according to the information minister.

Seventy-one people were arrested in connection with these events, Information Minister Chernor A. Bah told AFP on Thursday. This figure includes 45 soldiers, five dismissed soldiers, seven active police officers, one retired and 13 civilians, he detailed.

The West African region has been marked since 2020 by the multiplication of coups d'état, in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea.

Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo denounced on December 2 an “attempted coup d’état” in his country after clashes between the army and elements of the security forces the day before in Bissau.