Former President Ernest Bai Koroma has been charged with treason for his alleged involvement in the failed coup attempt in November, Sierra Leone’s government announced on Wednesday.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Information and Citizen Education, Koroma was also charged with high treason, which is the offense of concealing knowledge of treasonous acts.
QUESTIONS SIERRA LEONE FORMER PRESIDENT ON COUP ATTEMPT
On November 26, dozens of gunmen launched an attack on the West African nation’s capital, Freetown, during which they stormed Sierra Leone’s main arsenal and a prison where more than 2,000 prisoners were freed.
At least 18 members of the security forces were killed during the clashes. More than 50 suspects, including military personnel, have been arrested so far.
The charges against Koroma were announced a day after a dozen people were charged with similar offenses in connection with the failed coup.
Although he has officially retired from politics, Koroma remains an important figure in his political party and often hosts prominent politicians in his hometown of Makeni.
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There have been political tensions in Sierra Leone since President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected for a second term in a disputed vote in June. Two months after his re-election, police said they had arrested several people, including senior army officers, for allegedly planning to use protests “to undermine the peace”.