Sierra Leone president accuses opposition of insurrection
In an address to the nation, President Julius Maada Bio accused his opponents of attempting to overthrow his government in a ‘pre-meditated’ insurrection –
The president of Sierra Leone blamed deadly protests this week on opposition parties, claiming Friday night that his political rivals had attempted to overthrow his government in a “premeditated” insurrection.
On Wednesday, a demonstration organised by women to draw attention to inflation and the rising cost of living descended into clashes between security forces and young men demanding President Julius Maada Bio resign.
Violence erupted in several parts of the country, with the authorities imposing an internet blackout in response.
Six protesters and four police officers were killed, according to police and hospital sources, but no official toll has been given.
While shops and businesses in the capital Freetown have reopened, the government has imposed a curfew between 7:00 pm and 7:00 am and troops patrol the streets.
In an address to the nation on Friday evening, Bio, a general turned politician who was elected in 2018, said the opposition had been stoking tensions “for some time”.
“This was not a protest against the high cost of living occasioned by the ongoing global economic crisis,” he said. “The chant of the insurrectionists was for a violent overthrow of the democratically elected government.”
He specifically cited members of the All Peoples Congress, his party’s main political rival and the country’s former ruling party, as well as the People’s Progressive Party (PPP).
“The peace, security and stability of this nation were shattered by persons whose insurrection was pre-meditated, well-planned, financed and executed with shocking brutality,” he said.