Sierra Leone ex-president Koroma summoned for questioning over failed coup

FREETOWN (Reuters) -Sierra Leone police have summoned former president Ernest Bai Koroma for questioning as part of their investigation into a failed coup attempt on Nov. 26, information minister Chernor Bah said in a statement on Thursday.

Koroma is invited to report to the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department in Freetown within 24 hours, the statement said. Koroma said he would honour the invitation.

“I maintain an open mind and stand ready to support the police investigations to the fullest. Let the rule of law reign supreme in our democracy”, Koroma said in a statement, calling on the public to remain calm.

Gunmen attacked a military barracks, a prison and other locations in Sierra Leone last month, freeing about 2,200 inmates and killing more than 20 people in what the authorities said afterwards was an attempt to overthrow the government.

The government said the failed coup was led mostly by the former president’s bodyguards. Koroma condemned the attacks in a statement shortly after they happened.

So far 71 people have been arrested in the context of the ongoing investigation, including 45 serving military officers, seven serving police officers and 13 civilians, said information minister Bah.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by Nellie PeytonEditing by Alexander Winning and Mark Potter)