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Sierra Leone: 18 members of security forces buried

Sierra Leone: 18 members of security forces buried
Health workers carry a coffin during the mass burial of 27 protesters and six police officers at Bolima cemetery, October 17, 2022.   -  
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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone on Wednesday buried 18 members of the security forces killed during what the government called a November 26 coup attempt, in a ceremony attended by President Julius Maada Bio, a journalist from Sierra Leone noted.

Sixteen soldiers, a police officer and a prison guard were buried in a military cemetery in Freetown, according to Information Minister Chernor Bah.

The burial followed a funeral ceremony at army headquarters, in the presence of President Bio, the victims' families, religious representatives, the army and the police, according to an AFP journalist.

Hundreds of people lined the path leading to the cemetery to pay tribute to the 18 security agents killed during the events of November 26.

"Today we are united in grief. We stand (here) not as mourners, but also as bearers of a sacred duty, a solemn responsibility, to honour our fallen comrades ", said President Bio.

“We are gathered here today under the weight of immense grief to honour our brave soldiers and police officers who lost their lives defending our democracy,” he said.

A member of a family of the victims, Albert Mboma, told AFP to demand that "justice be done for the death of my brother (who) was the breadwinner of our family", in a country among the poorest in the world.

In the early hours of November 26, 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 spokesperson. Sixty people were arrested in connection with these events, mainly soldiers.

The West African region has been marked since 2020 by the multiplication 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 d'état" after clashes between the army and elements of the security forces on Friday.

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