Sierra Leone government arrests gunmen ‘who attacked barracks’, says calm restored

Sierra Leone says its security forces have restored calm to the country after armed men attacked the military barracks on Sunday.


Chernor Bah, the country’s minister of information and civic education, had said “unidentified individuals” attacked the barracks which houses several foreign embassies, including those of China, Germany, Austria, Gambia, Lebanon and Syria.


Following Bah’s announcement, the government declared a nationwide curfew.


Prisoners also escaped from a detention facility after a coordinated jail break orchestrated by gunmen.


In an address on Sunday night, Julius Bio, president of Sierra Leone, said most of the leaders of the attack have been arrested.


Although Bio refrained from describing the chain of events as a coup, he labelled them an attempt to undermine the stability the country has worked hard to achieve.


“The attackers have been repelled by a combined team of gallant security forces and calm has been restored,” the president said.


 “Most of the leaders have been arrested, security operations and investigations are ongoing. We will ensure that those responsible are held accountable through due process.


“I acknowledge the bravery and dedication of our armed forces, police, and all those who played a role to defeat this attempt to undermine the peace and stability we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”


Bio asked citizens to be reminded of national unity and advised that “everyone remain vigilant and cooperate with the security forces”.


In another statement, the minister of information and civic education said a new curfew would be imposed from 9 pm to 6 am local time till further notice.


Bah also asked citizens to report suspicious activities to security agencies.


Sierra Leone has been engulfed by a tense political climate since Bio was re-elected in June.


The result of the election was rejected by the opposition candidate and questioned by international partners, including the US and European Union, who said the polls lacked transparency.


The unrest in Sierra Leone comes in the wake of a slew of military coups in West and Central Africa.


In his address to the nation following the attack on the barracks, Bio called on the West African nation’s political and traditional leaders to work to preserve peace.

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