AUC Chairperson Faki Mahamat

AU Expresses Concern over Violent Protests in Sierra Leone

ADDIS ABABA – Protesters in Sierra Leone have clashed with police in the streets of Freetown, as tensions over the rising cost of living turned deadly on Wednesday.

The lives of policemen and civilians were lost in the violence, said Vice President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, without giving further details. He also announced a nationwide curfew from 3pm local time (15:00 GMT) on Wednesday.

Today, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expressed “deep concern over the violent protests”, which resulted in loss of life and the destruction of property.

The Chairperson also condemned “the acts of violence, and urges all stakeholders to refrain from further violence and engage in constructive dialogue” to maintain the stability that Sierra Leone has enjoyed since the end of the civil war in 2002.

The government has criticized the unidentified organizers of the protest, warning that the country already has suffered enough through more than a decade of civil war.

Long-standing frustration with the government in some quarters has been exacerbated by rising prices for basic goods in the West African country, where more than half of its population of around eight million live below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.