Armed Conflict Erupts In Africa

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Photo Credit: US Army, via Flickr

Sierra Leone experienced a coup attempt on Sunday in reaction to the reelection of President Bio. While the election was decried by some as being irregular, his 56% win seems likely legitimate.

Sierre Leone is a former British colony, founded by freed African-American slaves. It eventually gained independence and eventually became a republic, though suffered from coups and civil wars. The NY Times reports:

The small West African nation of Sierra Leone announced on Tuesday that it had arrested 13 military officials and one civilian in connection with a thwarted coup attempt on Sunday, when 20 people were killed and more than 2,000 prisoners were let loose.

“What happened on Sunday, 26th November 2023, was a failed attempted coup,” Chernor Bah, the country’s information minister, told reporters on Tuesday. But he did not identify any of the 14 people arrested.

The coup attempt is yet another in a long line of recent African coups, with 8 successful ones since 2020. Most successful coups have occurred in former French landlocked colonies. Fox News continues:

Coming months after Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio was reelected for a second term in a disputed vote in June, a coup attempt in the West African nation further raises political tensions in West and Central Africa. Coups have surged in the region, with eight military takeovers since 2020, including in Niger and Gabon this year.

Residents in Freetown were awoken by sounds of heavy gunfire Sunday as gunmen broke into the key armory in the country’s largest military barracks, located near the presidential villa in a heavily guarded part of the city.

While the coups do not seem to be due to foreign influence, Russia and NATO have occasionally taken sides after the fact. Many Africans see the coups as a way to break away from Western influence and corrupt regimes in charge since independence in the 1960s.

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