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Sierra Leone arrests ex-president's guard over failed coup

Sierra Leone arrests ex-president's guard over failed coup
Soldiers of the Sierra Leone armed forces patrol the streets of Freetown on June 26, 2023.   -  
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JOHN WESSELS/AFP or licensors

Sierra Leone

The Sierra Leonean government announced on Tuesday the arrest of one of the main organizers of what it described as an attempted coup on November 26, and of two alleged accomplices.

These arrests bring to 60 the number of people arrested since these events, the vast majority of them military personnel.

"One of the organizers of the failed November 26 coup attempt, Amadu Koita, who was at the top of the wanted list, was arrested yesterday (Monday) at 11:30 pm" (local and GMT), Information Minister Chernor Bah told a press conference in Freetown.

A former military officer and bodyguard of Sierra Leone's ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma, Amadu Koita was widely followed on social networks, where he criticized the government of President Julius Maada Bio. He was sheltered by a policewoman and a policeman, who were also arrested, the spokesman said.

In the early hours of November 26, men attacked a military armory, two other barracks, two prisons, and two police stations, confronting security forces with weapons drawn.

The fighting left 21 people dead, including 14 soldiers, a policeman, a prison guard, a security guard, a woman, and three assailants, according to the Minister of Information.

Since 2020, the West African region has been marked by an increasing number of coups d'état, in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea. On Saturday evening, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo also denounced an "attempted coup" following clashes between the army and elements of the security forces on Thursday night.

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