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Sierra Leone's capital returns to normalcy as manhunt for attackers continues

Two men walk along an empty road in Freetown on November 26, 2023.   -  
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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's capital remained tense on Monday (Nov. 27) even as a 24-hour curfew was relaxed to a dusk-to-dawn lockdown.

This came after president Juulius Madda Bio said most of the leaders of weekend attacks on the nation’s main military barracks and prisons had been arrested.

Many business owners in Free Town ran at a loss on Sunday (Nov. 26).

Residents in the capital were awoken by sounds of heavy gunfire as gunmen tried to break into the key armory in the country's largest military barracks, located near the presidential villa.

The gunmen exchanged fire for several hours with security forces. They also targeted major detention centers – including the central prison – and freed or abducted an unconfirmed number of people, authorities said.

Not much is known publicly about the identities or intentions of the attackers. There have been no claims of responsibility. The army spokesperson said Monday 13 soldiers were killed during the incident. AFP cited Col. Issa Bangura saying that retired and active military personel were among those wanted.

Sierra Leone has been on edge since mid-August last year. At the time, massive protests in parts of Freetown and other areas in the Northern part of the country shook the nation.

In August this year, president Bio emerged winner of highly divisive polls.

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