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Attempted "coup" in Sierra Leone: ex-president Koroma "one of the suspects" - police

Attempted "coup" in Sierra Leone: ex-president Koroma "one of the suspects" - police
Sierra Leone's former president, Ernest Bai Koroma, smiles in the village of Massessehbeh   -  
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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's police chief said on Tuesday that ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma was a "suspect" in the organization of the November 26 events, described by the government as an "attempted coup".

"Given the statement he voluntarily made to the police, he is one of the suspects," said Fayia Sellu, answering a question from Information Minister Chernor A. Bah, at a press conference.

"The Inspector General of Police has confirmed that former president Ernest Bai Koroma is a suspect in the ongoing investigations" into the November 26 coup attempt, the government then said in a message on social networks.

Mr. Koroma, who led Sierra Leone from 2007 to 2018, was questioned for the fourth time on Tuesday by police in Freetown.

The government had announced on Saturday that he had been placed under a regime akin to house arrest.

According to the Sierra Leonean authorities, some of Mr. Koroma's former guards are suspected of involvement in the unrest of November 26.

They have published a new list of 54 wanted persons, including ex-president Koroma's daughter, in connection with these events.

According to the Minister of Information, the security forces also recovered 29 of the 47 assault rifles and five of the seven rocket launchers belonging to the suspected coup plotters.

In the early hours of November 26, men had attacked a military armory, two barracks, two prisons, and two police stations.

The fighting left 21 people dead, 18 members of the security services, and three assailants, according to the Minister of Information.

Eighty people were arrested in connection with these events, most of them soldiers, according to the authorities.

A curfew, introduced by the authorities from 21:00 to 06:00 (local and GMT), was extended on Monday from 00:00 to 06:00, due to the "improved security situation", according to the government.

Since 2020, the West African region has been marked by a series of coups d'état in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea.

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