Former Sierra Leone President Ernest Koroma Faces Inquiry on Alleged Coup Plot

Harare — Ernest Bai Koroma, the former president, will be questioned by authorities for his alleged involvement in a botched coup in Sierra Leone on November 26, 2023.

Koroma has promised his cooperation with the police, according to Information Minister Chernor Bah.

In November 2023, gunmen opened fire on a military barracks, a prison, and other targets in Sierra Leone, releasing over 2,200 prisoners and killing over 20 people in what the government later claimed was an effort to topple the government.

President Julius Maada Bio’s administration claimed that the former president’s bodyguards were largely responsible for the attempted coup. Shortly afterward, Koroma issued a statement denouncing the attacks.

At least 71 people have been detained thus far as part of the ongoing inquiry. These include 45 active military personnel, 7 active law enforcement officers, and 13 civilians.

Following a contentious election in June 2023 that saw Bio re-elected, despite concerns from U.S. and EU election monitors, tensions have been rising in the West African country.

The opposition All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara rejected the results, calling the election illegitimate. Along with the economic effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic, the nation has also experienced protests against rising food prices. In August 2022, police opened fire on protesters.

In August 2023, an increasing number of countries criticized the number of coups in Africa.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who chairs the West African regional bloc Ecowas, is concerned about the “autocratic contagion” spreading in Africa and is working with world leaders and the African Union to resolve it, presidential spokesperson Ajuri Ngelale said.

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