Same Patterns, Different Names

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Sierra Leone reduced its 24-hour curfew to a night-time lockdown Monday, a day after gunmen attacked a number of military barracks and prisons, prompting concerns of a potential coup in the West African nation, the BBC reported.

On Sunday, unknown gunmen tried to break into the key armory in the country’s largest military barrack in the capital Freetown, leaving 20 dead and several wounded, Al Jazeera reported.

Authorities said the attackers fought against security forces and also targeted major detention facilities, freeing an unknown number of detainees, the Associated Press added.

But President Julius Maada Bio later said calm was restored and that most of the leaders of the attack had been arrested, although he did not give any details about the perpetrators.

Bio described Sunday’s events as a “breach of security” and an attack on democracy, but stopped short of calling it an attempted coup.

The United States, the European Union and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS condemned Sunday’s violence.

The attack comes during a period of deep political tensions in West and Central Africa, where a series of coups in recent years has seen eight countries end up being ruled by military governments.

In Sierra Leone, the situation has remained tense since Bio was reelected in June, a vote that international observers criticized for a lack of transparency in the count, as well as acts of violence and intimidation.

In August, authorities arrested a number of soldiers accused of plotting a coup against the president.

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