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Sierra Leone police successfully thwart violent attacks

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Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone has turned to a battle between security forces and opposition supporters amid general elections. Image by gettyimages

Police in Sierra Leone say they have arrested “several” people, possibly including soldiers, who were planning violent attacks on the anniversary of fatal riots last August that left more than 30 dead.

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“The security sector has been following intelligence regarding the activities of certain individuals, including senior military officers, working to undermine the peace and tranquility of the state,” the police said in a statement received by AFP late on Monday.

“In that regard, several arrests have been made and the suspects are assisting the police with the investigations.”

It said the suspects planned to use peaceful protests scheduled for next week “as a guise to unleash violent attacks against state institutions and peaceful citizens.”

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ATTACKS

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On August 10, 2022, economic and political protests in the capital Freetown and other cities spiralled into deadly clashes.

Twenty-seven civilians and six police officers died that day and in the several days that followed, according to official figures.

Amnesty International said it had gathered testimonies alleging excessive use of force, and condemned internet restrictions.

The West African nation held general elections on June 24.

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President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected for a second term, according to official results, which the opposition disputes.

International observers noted “statistical inconsistencies” and condemned a “lack of transparency” in the ballot count following the vote.

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The opposition has refused to participate in local or national government, with all but one MP boycotting parliament.

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