Sierra Leone grapples with aftermath of deadly attack

A member of the Sierra Leonean Armed Forces rides rides past a street vendor pushing a cart loaded with bread in Freetown on November 27, 2023.

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Sierra Leone

In the wake of a tragic attack in Sierra Leone that claimed the lives of twenty people and saw nearly 2,000 inmates escaping from a military barracks and prison, the people of Freetown are grappling with the aftermath, expressing a mix of sorrow and resilience.

Amid the chaos, Mabinty Samura, a business owner, voiced the collective distress of the community, stating, “We’re not happy, and especially given what we have gone through. Anyone who has seen what happened would not wish for it to happen again. This is not our dream. What we need is prayer. The things that are not good, God will avert them.”

Kadiatu Suma, another business owner, shared her personal ordeal, highlighting the impact of the unexpected curfew imposed after the attack: “I’m a business woman and I received a stock of my goods yesterday. And then when the unexpected curfew was imposed, nobody could go out, no food to eat, not water to drink. So I was shocked, and I am not happy about what happened yesterday.”

The assault, which occurred on Sunday, led to panic in the capital city of Freetown as gunfire echoed through the streets. The government swiftly attributed the attack to “renegade soldiers,” asserting that they had been repelled.

President Julius Maada Bio, addressing the nation, assured that most of the leaders behind the attack had been apprehended, and efforts were underway to capture others involved. He announced the initiation of an investigation to uncover the motives and details surrounding the incident.

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