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Sierra Leone: ex-president allowed to travel on medical grounds

Former Sierra Leonean president Ernest Bai Koroma.   -  
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Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's former president Ernest Bai Koroma was granted permission by a high court in Freetown on Wednesday to travel abroad for medical reasons.

Koroma was accused of treason and other offences over a failed coup in November which resulted in the deaths of some 20 people.

The High Court ruling stipulates that Koroma cannot stay in Nigeria for longer than three months and must return to Sierra Leone for to appear before the court on March 6.

Koroma's lead counsel, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, spoke to the press shortly after the hearing, saying that a "gag order has been given" and so he could not comment "on the quality and content of what [the ruling] says."

The ruling comes amidst speculation that the former leader has agreed to go into exile in Nigeria if charges against him are dropped.

Koroma was arrested at the beginning of January in connection with the failed coup.

During the failed revolt, gunmen broke into a military armoury and several prisons in Freetown. Almost 2,000 inmates were freed.

Around 30 people, including police, soldiers as well as Koroma's former bodyguard, have been charged for their alleged roles in the mutiny.

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