Curfew Partially Lifted in Sierra Leone Capital as Government Says Calm Restored

Mon Nov 27 2023
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FREETOWN: Daily life began to resume amid a heavy security presence in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, on Monday, as the government partially lifted a curfew imposed after armed clashes erupted in the city.

Early on Sunday, armed attackers stormed a military armoury and several prisons, leading to battles with security forces that lasted for hours in Freetown.

Sierra Leone is an English-speaking West African nation that has been going through a political crisis following polls in June.

On Monday, the government lifted the daytime curfew that it had imposed and urged people to resume their daily routine but remain vigilant, according to AFP news agency. It said a curfew would remain in place between 9:00 pm and 6:00 am.

The information ministry said in an overnight statement that while we encourage people to return to their normal activities, we continue to urge everyone to remain calm but vigilant and to report any unusual or suspicious activity to the nearest police station.

In Freetown, some stores and banks opened, and traffic resumed on Monday, but schools remained shut. Checkpoints had been set up on the main roads, where security forces members were searching vehicles.

Uncertainty in Sierra Leone

Meanwhile, many questions remained over what happened in the country, amid fears of another coup in West Africa, where Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, and Guinea have all experienced putsches since 2020.

The incumbent president, Julius Maada Bio, himself led a military coup in the 1990s before handing over power and returning to politics as a civilian years later.

Early on Sunday, armed attackers tried to break into a military armoury in the capital, sparking clashes with security forces.

Several jails were also attacked, with some prisoners reportedly escaping.

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