The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) strongly denounces the recent attempt to undermine the democratic government in Sierra Leone. In a resolute statement issued by the regional organization, ECOWAS expressed its deep concern and unequivocal condemnation of any action that seeks to destabilize the democratic institutions and processes in member states.
The condemnation comes in response to reported incidents that indicate a deliberate effort to truncate the democratic governance system in Sierra Leone. ECOWAS, as a staunch advocate for democratic principles and good governance, emphasizes the importance of upholding the rule of law and respecting the will of the people in the democratic process.
Furthermore, ECOWAS underscores its commitment to the principles enshrined in its founding charter, which includes the promotion and preservation of democracy, peace, and stability within the West African region. The organization calls for an immediate cessation of any activities that threaten the democratic order in Sierra Leone and urges all relevant stakeholders to engage in peaceful dialogue to resolve any grievances or concerns.
In addition to condemning the attempt to undermine democracy, ECOWAS stands ready to collaborate with the government and people of Sierra Leone to ensure the restoration and preservation of democratic governance. The regional body reaffirms its dedication to fostering political stability and economic development in the West African subregion, emphasizing that democratic governance is pivotal to achieving sustainable progress.
ECOWAS remains vigilant in monitoring the situation in Sierra Leone and is prepared to take necessary measures to support the restoration of normalcy and democratic governance in the country. The organization calls on the international community to join in condemning any acts that threaten the democratic fabric of Sierra Leone and to support efforts aimed at maintaining peace, stability, and democratic values in the region.
In response to a brazen attack on military barracks in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, President Julius Maada Bio declared a nationwide curfew. The assailants, identified as unidentified gunmen, targeted a military armoury within the barracks during the early hours, prompting a swift response from security forces, leading to the restoration of calm, as reported by President Bio on X.
The incident has added to the existing tension in Sierra Leone, stemming from the disputed re-election of President Bio. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) issued a statement in Abuja on Sunday, condemning the orchestrated attempt by certain individuals to disrupt the peace and constitutional order in the country.
Expressing its deep concern, ECOWAS revealed its awareness of a plot to acquire arms for unlawful purposes and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of all individuals involved in this illicit endeavor. The regional bloc reiterated its steadfast commitment to a zero-tolerance policy regarding the unconstitutional change of government.
In a show of solidarity with Sierra Leone, ECOWAS emphasized its dedication to supporting the government and the people in their pursuit of democratic principles and good governance. The bloc underscored the importance of consolidating peace and security to facilitate socio-economic development in the West African nation. As Sierra Leone grapples with the aftermath of the attack, a combined team of security forces is actively pursuing and neutralizing any remaining threats, leading to the implementation of a nationwide curfew with an appeal for citizens to stay indoors during this critical period.
It has come to light that a number of inmates from the central prison in Freetown managed to escape, prompting an ongoing investigation by authorities to ascertain the extent of the breakout. The exact number of prisoners who successfully fled remains uncertain at this time.
Several videos circulating on social media depict a chaotic scene in which numerous individuals are seen fleeing the vicinity of the prison, accompanied by the ominous backdrop of gunshots. According to official reports, the assailants who targeted a military barracks subsequently infiltrated the prison facility, liberating incarcerated individuals in the process.
In response to the escalating situation, Sierra Leone’s civil aviation authority issued a directive urging airlines to reschedule flights in light of the imposed curfew. The aviation authority emphasized that affected passengers should be accommodated on the soonest available flights once the curfew is lifted, while assuring that the country’s airspace remains operational.
The current unrest adds to the challenges faced by President Bio, who secured reelection for a second term in June amid allegations from opposition parties of collusion between Sierra Leone’s electoral commission and the ruling party. This marked the fifth presidential election since the conclusion of the brutal 11-year civil war in the nation.
Furthermore, Sierra Leone finds itself in a region grappling with political instability, as evidenced by eight military coups in West and Central Africa since 2020. President Bio has faced criticism for the deteriorating economic conditions in the country, including high levels of poverty, escalating youth unemployment, and other pressing issues.
In response to the recent attack, the U.S. embassy in Freetown issued a statement condemning such actions as unjustified, underscoring the international concern over the unfolding events in Sierra Leone.