November 26, 2023
Ludovica Leccese, Giorgia Cito, CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team
Elena Rossetti, Editor; Evan Beachler, Senior Editor
Map Of Sierra Leone
Event: On November 26, Sierra Leone experienced a security breach when a group of “renegade soldiers” attempted to seize control of a military armory in the capital, Freetown. The government responded by implementing a nationwide curfew, rescheduling airline flights, and shutting down the country's borders with Guinea, while government forces clashed with the assailants’ group near the Wilberforce barracks. The confrontations led to gunfire exchange that escalated when the attackers raided police barracks after running out of ammunition and released inmates from major detention centers. This attack reflects the ongoing political tensions following President Julius Maada Bio’s disputed re-election in June amidst a nation still healing and recovering from its civil war and recent anti-government protests. Security forces managed to repel the attackers to the city's outskirts and restore order.
The attempted attack by “renegade soldiers will” likely increase social unrest and political instability in the country, with the government likely facing difficulties keeping order and security. These difficulties will likely reduce trust in the government’s ability to safeguard civilians and maintain order, likely increasing discontent among the population and underscoring the deep divisions and tensions within the country's political landscape in the wake of Maada Bio’s re-election. The attack on detention centers and the inmates’ release will very likely increase criminal activities and security concerns, likely leading to an escalation of violence. The escalating violence will likely increase military presence and control, likely restricting civil liberties and freedom of movement. The likely continuous attacks and worsening instability will likely deteriorate the country’s economic outlook, likely deterring foreign investment and disrupting local economic activities. The strain on public services, including healthcare and education, will likely intensify, likely increasing the demand for international humanitarian assistance.
The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that the international community engage diplomatically with Sierra Leone’s government to encourage a peaceful resolution of the crisis. CTG recommends regional organizations like the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mediate and stabilize the situation by cooperating with the local government and fostering regional dialogue.
CTG recommends that Sierra Leone’s authorities establish an effective communication channel to keep the citizens informed about the government’s actions and the ongoing situation, providing timely information and preventing the spread of misinformation and disinformation.
CTG recommends that Sierra Leone's government take measures to enhance the safety and effectiveness of detention centers by increasing security, identifying potential failure points, and developing a comprehensive plan to address them.
CTG recommends that Sierra Leone's government to further improve the actions taken in 2023 to revise its health emergency response plan, the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Plan (NDPRP), including an updated plan with specific strategies to guarantee access to sufficient health services, food, and shelter during any potential future emergencies.
CTG recommends that the military prioritize civilians’ safety and well-being, resorting to proportionate action and upholding the principle of civilian control and respect for human rights.
If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-2848 or email email@example.com
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 Sierra Leone repels attack by 'renegade soldiers' on Freetown barracks, Reuters, November 2023, https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/sierra-leone-security-forces-repelled-attack-barracks-govt-statement-2023-11-26/