Sierra Leone’s minister says weekend attack was a failed coup

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Sierra Leone’s Information Minister Chernor Bah said on Tuesday that attacks on several locations in the capital Freetown on Sunday were a failed attempt to overthrow the government.

Thirteen military officers and one civilian have been arrested following the incident, he told a press conference.

Gunmen attacked a military barracks, a prison and other locations on Sunday, freeing about 2 200 inmates and killing more than 20 people, said authorities in the West African country.

By Monday calm had returned.

“The incident was a failed attempted coup. The intention was to illegally subvert and overthrow a democratically elected government,” said Bah.

“The attempt failed, and plenty of the leaders are either in police custody or on the run. We will try to capture them and bring them to the full force of the laws of Sierra Leone.”

Sierra Leone, which is still recovering from a 1991-2002 civil war in which more than 50 000 were killed, has been tense since Bio was re-elected in June.

The result was rejected by the main opposition candidate and questioned by international partners including the United States and the European Union.