Nigeria Newspapers

Ex-Sierra Leone president to be questioned over attempted coup

ecb54547 1878886 president ernest bai koroma

Sierra Leone police Thursday summoned ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma for questioning as part of an investigation into what the government calls an attempted coup last week, officials said.

Koroma, who led the West African nation for 11 years until 2018, has been asked to appear at the criminal investigations department in the capital Freetown within 24 hours, the information ministry said.

Armed attackers stormed a military armoury, two barracks, two prisons and two police stations, clashing with security forces during the early hours of November 26.

The fighting left 21 people dead, according to Information Minister Chernor Bah. Since then, 71 people have been arrested.

“The former president is invited to assist in the ongoing criminal investigations into the November 26th failed attempted coup in Sierra Leone,” an information ministry statement said.

The office of the former head of state responded in a separate statement Thursday that he would go to Freetown to cooperate with the investigation.

His entourage said he was in his northern hometown of Makeni.

“I maintain an open mind and stand ready to support the police investigations to the fullest,” Koroma said in the statement.

“Let the rule of law reign supreme in our democracy.”

He called for calm and asked his followers to assist the police in their investigations.

Authorities say former guards of Koroma are suspected of involvement in the November 26 incidents.

West Africa has been hit by a series of coups since 2020 with the military taking power in Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea.

On Saturday, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo claimed to have survived an attempted coup after fighting between the army and parts of the security services.