By Paul Ejime
Some protesters and policemen were reported killed in violent street protests Wednesday in some Sierra Leone cities on the third day of a three-day sit-a-home protest called by opposition parties and civil society groups over economic hardships and bad governance by President Julius Maada Bio’s government.
The protesters, mainly youths have gained entry into the country’s Lungi airport after the military and police unsuccessfully tried to stop them.
Some of the protesters are demanding that President Bio must go.
Residents said police were accused of firing live bullets at the protesters resulting in violent clashes and the deaths, including some policemen.
President Bio is out of the country with his family leaving vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh in charge.
In a short state broadcast the VP announced the imposition of an i indefinite nationwide curfew from 3pm local time on Wednesday.
He accused the protesters of destroying and burning down government property, including police facilities, warning that security forces had been authorised to deal squarely with law breakers.
Internet connection was restored several hours ago in the nation’s capital Freetown, after disruption from Wednesday morning.
The citizens are said to be venting their anger, discontentment and frustration over economic hardships, government’s alleged maltreatment and victimisation of opposition figures and failure to communicate with the population.
Presidential election is due in Sierra Leone next year but the protesters say Bio should not run for reelection.
ECOWAS and partners must act fast to prevent an escalation from this civil unrest in Sierra Leone, which has not fully recovered from its bloody civil war of 1991 to 2002.
The government has meanwhile resuscitated the controversial Military Aid to Civilian Power (MACP) civil war Policy for four days 9-12 August 2022.