Sierra Leone charges ex-president’s guard, 11 others over failed coup

FREETOWN (Reuters) – Sierra Leone authorities have charged 12 people with treason in connection with a failed coup in November, including a member of former President Ernest Bai Koroma’s security detail, the government said on Tuesday.

Gunmen attacked a military barracks, a prison and other locations in Sierra Leone on Nov. 26, 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 accused were arraigned before a magistrate in the capital Freetown on Tuesday, the information ministry said in a statement, adding that they included ex-police and correctional officers and former Koroma bodyguard Amadu Koita.

“Other accused persons are expected to be charged in the coming days,” the ministry said.

It was not immediately possible to reach Koita or his legal representative for comment.

The government has previously said the failed coup was led mostly by Koroma’s bodyguards.

Koroma, who condemned the attacks in a statement shortly after they happened, was summoned for questioning in December as part of the police investigation.

(Reporting by Umaru Fofana; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Bill Berkrot)