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Sierra Leone: President accuses opposition of wanting to overthrow government

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Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio said on Friday August 12 that the deadly riots that took place on Wednesday were aimed at creating a “insurrection” to overthrow the government, and accused the opposition.

“On this day, the peace, security and stability of this Nation was shattered by people whose insurrection was premeditated, well planned, financed and executed with shocking brutality”said President Bio in an address to the nation.

” Before the [mercredi] August 10, they seriously identified themselves on social media »said the Sierra Leonean leader, citing members of opposition parties as “The APC Warriors”the former ruling party, and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP). “Politicians have created tensions and threats to make the country ungovernable”he added.

Read also: In Sierra Leone, two police officers killed during protests against high prices

According to him, “It was not a demonstration against the cost of living. The insurgent chant was aimed at a violent overthrow of the democratically elected government”continued the Mr. Bio, elected in April 2018. He promised an investigation and announced an official funeral for the members of the security killed of these riots in at least three cities of Sierra Leone, including the capital Freetown.

“Peaceful Gathering”

The APC expressed “his concern at the wave of violence in Freetown and other towns in the provinces which has caused the loss of life of compatriots” Wednesday, in a press release published Friday evening, after President Bio’s speech, without referring to it.

“As a party, we reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to lasting peace and national cohesion”adds the press release, calling for respect for the law.

The APC recalled that the law guarantees the freedom to organize a peaceful demonstration, and called on all parties to “a de-escalation of tensions and to avoid inflammatory speeches and unfounded statements”.

The initiative for the demonstration came from a group of women traders, “The Grassroots Women of Salone”, who called a “peaceful assembly” for “to draw attention to economic difficulties”.

The demonstration then turned into a riot. At least four members of the security forces were killed and several police stations were vandalized, according to the police. Civilians were also killed, according to the same source, during these unrest which was also marked by a suspension of the internet. A curfew from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. is maintained until further notice.

Read also: In Sierra Leone, Freetown wants to fight extreme heat by involving the poorest

Despite a soil rich in diamonds, Sierra Leone is one of the least developed countries in the world. The former British colony and its 7.5 million people were still recovering from a brutal 1991-2002 civil war and the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak in West Africa when they were hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and then by the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine.

The World with AFP