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Sierra Leone

Koroma under house arrest as probe continues into coup attempt

The former president has been questioned again during an investigation into last month's armed clashes in the capital

Confusion reigns as the government continues its investigations into the failed coup against President Julius Maada Bio.

Bio's predecessor, Ernest Bai Koroma, was summoned to Freetown late last week for questioning by the police, according to the Ministry of Information and Civic Education.

Information Minister Chernor Bah has since told local media that Koroma was questioned again on Saturday, after first being brought in for questioning on Friday, before being released 'with the condition that he stays in the confines of his property'.

A member of the opposition All People's Congress, though he retired from politics after losing the 2018 polls, Koroma's house was broken into during the early stages of the coup attempt by armed men who killed his security guard, Corporal Eddie Conteh.

Dozens of gunmen launched an attack last month in Freetown during which they broke into Sierra Leone's key armoury and into a prison, freeing most of the more than 2,000 inmates at the Pademba Road prison (AC Vol 64 No 24, The Pademba putsch).

At least 18 members of the security forces were killed during the clashes, while more than 50 suspects – including military officers – have been arrested so far.

Among those arrested was Amadu Koita, who worked as a security guard for Koroma until 2018 when the former president left office. 

The coup is widely thought to be linked to June's presidential elections, which gave Bio a second term with 56% of the vote, after the veracity of the polls were disputed by international observers and the opposition APC, which has since boycotted parliament (Dispatches, 4/7/23, Election observers cry foul as Maada Bio starts second term).

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