The President, Julius Bio, has informed Sierra Leone that those who instigated the attempted coup d'état on November 26, 2023, will be “prosecuted.”
“The attempted coup will be dealt with by my government as a law and order issue, not a political, tribal, or religious matter,” Bio said in a midnight address to the nation on December 2.
According to him, investigations conducted by the security apparatus indicate that the incident was an attempted coup to unseat his government.
“Fellow citizens, investigations conducted so far by our security and intelligence community strongly indicate that the November 26, 2023, infraction was clearly and unanimously an attempted coup d’état.”
“Their actions were premeditated and coordinated and [were] executed to unseat the democratically elected government by violent and unlawful means.”
On Sunday, November 26, 2023, some unidentified individuals attempted to break into the military armory at Wilberforce barracks, causing the Ministry of Information to declare a curfew.
“We have declared a nationwide curfew. We are asking our residents, our citizens to stay indoors, especially because we are in the process of tracking down the retreating renegades who attempted these illegal activities,” Chenor Bah, the Sierra Leone Minister of Information, said in a BBC interview.
According to Bio, some arrests have been made, and a full investigation has been launched, with the Sierra Leone police releasing a list of wanted persons.
“I strongly encourage citizens and non-citizens to provide useful information that will lead to the arrest of fugitives and aid the investigation.”
“No matter the provocation, our response to the events of November 26 will be measured and determined along only one parameter — the rule of law, nothing more, nothing less.”
Bio, re-elected in June 2023 for a second term, said those who tried to unseat a democratically elected government would be prosecuted, no matter their status and position in the country.
“Therefore, let all be rest assured that we will follow the evidence wherever it leads us, and all those found culpable, no matter their status, shall be held fully accountable for their actions in the confines of the law while at the same time also recognizing the wide demand for justice and freedom.”
He called on all citizens to denounce violence and report anyone who engages in acts that would undermine the government.
“Fellow citizens, this attempted coup is taking place exactly five months after we went to the polls and exercised our franchise in an election that has been widely claimed as the most peaceful in our country’s post-electoral history. To seek to overthrow the people’s will by unlawful means is the greatest and the most unpardonable sin.”
“Those who sought to disrupt our democracy, let me be clear: you will not succeed. Sierra Leone, the land of unity, freedom, and justice, is a multiparty democracy.”
Bio thanked the security forces who fought to prevent the coup that led to an intense battle between the unknown intruders and the security forces.
“Fellow citizens and residents of this great nation, I greet you in the name of Allah and Savior Jesus Christ. Five days ago, on Sunday, November 26, at around 3 am, gunshots were heard from Wilberforce military barracks, employed to leash anarchy on our capital, Freetown, by a group of ruthless hooligans. The armory at the Wilberforce military barracks has been violently breached by unknown assailants. After an intense gunfight, our law enforcement eventually repelled them.”