The situation in Sierra Leone is gradually returning to normalcy following an attempted coup on Sunday, November 27, 2023. Military patrols and checkpoints have been established in the capital city of Freetown and other parts of the country.
President Julius Maada Bio is back at work, but many businesses and shops in Freetown remain closed. Schools have yet to resume classes.
In provincial towns and cities, particularly in the southeastern part of the country, life has returned to normal. There was no spillover of the unrest to these regions. However, in Makeni and other areas in the North/North West, many businesses and schools remain closed.
The exact number of casualties, both military and civilian, is still being determined by the authorities. The names of those arrested, including the “leaders” of the attack, have not been released.
Chief Minister David Sengeh reported that some prisoners have voluntarily surrendered to the prison authorities on Monday morning.
The government authorities are not providing as much information as the public may demand. Information Minister Chernor A. Bah said on local media that some information is being treated as highly “classified intelligence” because the forces are still pursuing the remnants of fleeing rebels.
There are credible reports of abandoned vehicles with military gears and weapons in some locations.
The Office of National Security spokesman, alongside the police and military spokespersons, appeared on AYV TV to update the public on the current situation. ONS spokesman Abdul Kamara Will said that some of those involved in the coup are retired military and police personnel, but he could not state their ranks. Colonel Issa Bangura of the Ministry of Defence said that seven serving personnel were killed in action, while several others sustained injuries and are responding to treatment. Police spokesman ACP Brima Kamara encouraged the public to cooperate with the police, while cautioning communities and the general populace against aiding/abetting or harboring prisoners.
A delegation from ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and the Nigerian Government is expected to arrive in Sierra Leone today to express solidarity with the Government of Sierra Leone. Diplomatic missions in the country, as well as the Commonwealth Secretariat, have issued statements of solidarity to the government.
Overall, the attempted coup has brought back very scary memories of the civil war, and despite government reassurances of citizens’ safety and security, the situation remains very concerning.