The President of Sierra Leone has pointed the finger of blame at opposition parties for the tragic demonstrations that have taken place this week. He stated on Friday night that his political opponents had “premeditatedly” attempted to destroy his administration in an uprising. On Wednesday, a demonstration that was organized by women to bring attention to inflation and the rising cost of living devolved into fights between security officers and young men demanding the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio. The ladies had organized the event.
As a direct response to the violence that broke out in numerous different regions of the country, the authorities shut off internet access nationwide. According to police and hospital sources, the death toll stands at six protestors, in addition to four police officers. However, an official tally has not been provided. Even though most stores and businesses in Freetown, the nation’s capital, have reopened, the government has put a curfew in place from 7 pm to 7 am, and soldiers are stationed all over the city to keep order.
Bio, a former general turned politician who was elected in 2018, delivered a speech to the nation on Friday evening and stated that the opposition has been stirring tensions “for some time.” Bio was elected in 2018. He stated that this was not a demonstration against the rising cost of living that has been brought on by the current economic crisis in the world. The insurrectionists’ rallying cry called for the violent overthrow of the democratically elected government.
He specifically named individuals affiliated with the All People’s Congress, the People’s Progressive Party, and the country’s previous ruling party. The All Peoples Congress is his party’s primary political adversary (PPP). “The peace, security, and stability of this nation were destroyed by individuals whose rebellion was premeditated, well-planned, financed, and executed with horrific brutality,” he added. “The insurrection was premeditated, well-planned, and executed with stunning brutality.”
The APC issued its own statement shortly after the president’s address, in which it called for adherence to the rule of law but did not explicitly respond to the claims. According to what was stated in the statement, “We urge all stakeholders to de-escalate tensions and avoid inflammatory rhetoric (or) unfounded announcements.” As a party, we will not relent in our efforts to reaffirm and strengthen our commitment to a lasting peace and to the solidarity of our nation.”
Bio has given his word that there will be a full investigation into the incident, as well as state funerals for the fallen security agents. Since the end of a civil war that lasted from 1991 through 2002 and claimed the lives of around 120,000 people, Sierra Leone has enjoyed a reputation for being a relatively stable country. But the economy, which depends a lot on minerals, has had a hard time getting back on its feet, and the country’s eight million people have to live in one of the poorest places in the world.
According to the Human Development Index compiled by the United Nations, Sierra Leone ranks 182nd out of 189 countries. Rebuilding efforts have been hampered by a number of factors, including an outbreak of Ebola in 2014–2016, a decline in global commodity prices, and a pandemic of coronavirus. These factors, along with others, have hampered commerce and investment, as well as decreased exports. The government removed three zeros from its currency in July in the hopes of restoring confidence in the leone, which had been battered hard by inflation.