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Sierra Leone detains ex-president’s guard linked to coup attempt

Screenshot 2023-12-06 125157

Authorities in Sierra Leone have arrested one of the main organizers of the November 26 coup attempt, along with two alleged accomplices. The arrests bring the total number of people detained in connection with the uprising to 60, with the majority of them being military personnel.

Amadu Koita, a former military officer and bodyguard to Sierra Leone’s ex-president Ernest Bai Koroma was apprehended on Monday at 11:30 pm local time. He was considered a top target on the authorities’ wanted list.

Information Minister Chernor Bah announced Koita’s arrest during a press conference in Freetown, revealing that he had been sheltered by a policewoman and a policeman, who were also arrested.

Koita, a prominent figure on social media, had been openly critical of the government of President Julius Maada Bio.

The November 26 coup attempt unfolded in the early hours of the morning as armed men attacked a military armory, two other barracks, two prisons, and two police stations. The clashes with security forces resulted in the deaths of 21 people, including 14 soldiers, a policeman, a prison guard, a security guard, a woman, and three assailants.

Read also Heavy gunfire erupts in Conakry, Guinea raising fear of coup

Sierra Leone’s arrest of Koita and his associates coincides with a recent surge in coup attempts across West Africa. Since 2020, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea have all experienced attempted coups. Just days before Koita’s arrest, Guinea-Bissau President Umaro Sissoco Embalo also denounced an alleged coup attempt following clashes between the military and security forces.

The ongoing instability in West Africa has raised concerns about the region’s political and security landscape. As authorities continue to investigate the November 26 coup attempt in Sierra Leone, the arrests of Koita and his accomplices signal a strong response aimed at deterring further attempts to destabilize the country.