Sierra Leone has been placed under a nationwide curfew after armed men broke into prisons, setting inmates free.

Detainees from a number of “major” facilities were released on Sunday morning, said the West African nation’s information minister.

President Julius Maada Bio later said most of the leaders behind the attack had been arrested.

In a televised address, he described the events as a “breach of security” and an attack on democracy. 

He carefully avoided calling them an attempted coup.

He said calm had been restored but gave no details about who the perpetrators were or what they wanted.

The political situation in Sierra Leone has remained tense since June, when President Bio was re-elected – narrowly missing out on the need to have a run-off. 

International observers have condemned inconsistencies and a lack of transparency in the count, as well as acts of violence and intimidation.

After the attack, the Ministry of Information declared an immediate curfew. Residents across the country are “strongly” recommended to stay indoors and flights to and from the nation’s only international airport have been cancelled.


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