Sierra Leone

  1. Sierra Leone president sacks justice minister

    Anthony Yeiwoh Brewah
    Image caption: Anthony Yeiwoh Brewah was appointed in 2020

    Sierra Leone's President Julius Maada Bio has sacked the attorney general who is also the justice minister.

    No reasons have been given by the presidency.

    Local media have linked the sacking to the pardoning of prisoners on New Year's Day and photos of the attorney general with one of the freed inmates.

    Anthony Yeiwoh Brewah has been replaced by Mohamed Lamin Tarawalley.

    Local media reports that Mr Brewah sat on a committee that made recommendations to the president for the pardoning of 160 inmates.

    The attorney general was then pictured at his house with Baimba Moi Foray - who had been convicted of the murder of a DJ - which sparked outrage.

    Foray's pardoning has since been revoked.

    Mr Brewah has not commented about the photos or his sacking.

  2. Tribute to World War Two veteran who dies aged 101

    The grandson of one of Sierra Leone's last remaining World War Two veterans has paid a moving tribute to him, in an interview with BBC Focus on Africa radio.

    Pa Samuel Sorie Sesay died at the age of 101 on Monday.

    "He wasn't a king but he raised a royal family," John Konteh said.

    Listen to his full interview with Bola Mosuro:

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    Video caption: Sierra Leonean Samuel Sorie Sesay who fought in World War Two, has died aged 101
  3. Man charged in Liberia with trying to sell his son

    Jonathan Paye-Layleh

    BBC News, Monrovia

    Liberia dollar notes
    Image caption: The man wanted to raise about 146,000 Liberian dollars ($1,000) to replace a stolen motorbike

    Police in Liberia have arrested a 29-year-old Sierra Leonean man and charged him with attempting to sell his 10-year-old son.

    It was apparently a desperate bid to raise money to replace a stolen motorbike.

    After his arrest, the man told investigating officers in the capital, Monrovia, that he needed around $1,000 (£750) as the bike, which had belonged to his friend, had been stolen from his home.

    He was told the only way to raise this much money quickly was to go to neighbouring Liberia to try and find a buyer for his son.

    Back home people had told him it would be easy to do that kind of deal over the border.

    It was arranged through a middleman in December. During negotiations the boy was apparently referred to as a chicken not a human being to avoid detection.

    Nonetheless the police received a tip-off, and the father was arrested as the buyer was reportedly on their way to collect the boy from a town outside Monrovia.

    According to the Liberian online publication Global News Network, the child is currently in the care of the gender ministry.

    Human trafficking is a major issue in West Africa.

    Children sold into modern slavery are not allowed to contact their families and are often made to work as domestic servants or labourers.

  4. Meet Sierra Leone's 'queen of garri' inspired by God

    Sierra Leonean Mamie Margao has decided to make her garri stand out by adding other ingredients founds locally.

    Garri is a major staple food in West Africa. It is the creamy fine to coarse granular flour that is obtained by processing the starchy roots of freshly harvested cassava.

    Ms Margao's variations of garri have coconut and sesame seeds making the taste and colour different from that of ordinary garri.

    She told the BBC's Focus on Africa that her inspiration was from God.

    "I just wanted to make a different taste and add value," she said.

    Ms Margao is the chairperson of the garri processing centre in Sierra Leone's second largest city, Bo.

    Her customer base has been increasing and word has spread to Africans living in the diaspora who have bought the new garri.

    Here is her full interview on Focus on Africa:

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    Video caption: Mamie Margao uses local Sierra Leonean ingredients to make unique garri dishes
  5. Sierra Leone president suspends top state auditor

    Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio has indefinitely suspended the country’s chief auditor Lara Taylor-Pearce pending investigations.

    Ms Taylor-Pearce said a suspension letter addressed to the board of the state audit service noted that she and her office would be subjected to investigations.

    No timelines or the scope of the investigations were given, she said.

    The president's office has not commented on the suspension.

    She said the letter noted that the attorney general had been instructed to set up a tribunal to investigate her “professional performance or lack thereof”.

    She has denied any wrongdoing and said she is ready to cooperate with the tribunal when it is set up.

    She told the BBC that she and the audit service had always maintained the highest standards of professionalism and that she was “ready to defend my reputation anywhere, anytime”.

    Her suspension has been criticised by Sierra Leoneans online and by civil society.

    Ibrahim Tommy of the Centre for Accountability and Rule of Law said the news of suspensions was “shocking” and that most people believed "she had done a good job".

    She has been at the helm at of the audit service for a decade and her reports have been hard-hitting against the current and previous administrations.

  6. Sierra Leonean student inventor wins global prize

    BBC Focus on Africa radio

    Sierra Leonean student Jeremiah Thoronka has won a global prize for his clean energy invention.

    He has come up with a device that uses kinetic energy from traffic and pedestrians to generate clean power.

    Mr Thoronka was awarded $100,000 (£74,000) for winning the 2021 Global Student Prize.

    He told the BBC Focus on Africa radio that he was excited and grateful for the award that celebrates students "taking responsibility and contributing towards national development".

    Every year, awards "exceptional" students who make a "real impact on learning".

    Mr Thoronka's device seeks to utilise the population growth in cities.

    "There's need for energy systems and plants and so for me I looked at the perspective where the kinetic energy people give out when moving can be stored," he said.

    The student emerged top among 3,500 other young people who had entered the competition.

    He plans to use the prize money to help his local community access energy.

    Listen to the interview on Focus on Africa:

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    Video caption: Jeremiah Thoronka was awarded the 2021 Global Student Prize for his clean-energy project
  7. By Mohamed Fajah Barrie

    BBC Sport Africa, Sierra Leone

    Abdulai Bah

    Sierra Leone women's coach Abdulai Bah is released on bail pending a decision on whether he will be charged over allegations of sexual harassment of national team players.

    Read more
  8. Sierra Leone tanker explosion: The lives and livelihoods destroyed

    Video content

    Video caption: Survivors are left wondering how to rebuild their lives after an explosion killed over 100

    In the wake of the fuel tanker explosion that killed over 100 people in Freetown, survivors and their families are left wondering how to rebuild their lives.

  9. Three days of mourning over Sierra Leone tragedy

    Mayeni Jones

    BBC News, Lagos

    Security forces take measures at the blast site after a fuel tanker exploded and killed at least 99 people in Wellington district of Freetown,
    Image caption: President Maada Bio says the country must learn from the deadly incident

    Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio has declared three days of national mourning after a fuel tanker explosion on Friday killed more than 100 people.

    Mr Maada Bio said the country must learn from the incident, adding that those injured would be given free treatment.

    He said he was setting up a task force to look into the incident, and make recommendations on how to avoid this happening again.

    Later on Monday, flags will be flown at half-mast to remember the victims.

    At least 101 people died and about 100 others were injured when the tanker blew up after colliding with another truck in the capital Freetown.

    Sierra Leone has suffered a number of recent tragedies.

    In March, more than 80 people were injured in a fire that swept through one of Freetown’s slums, displacing more than 5,000 residents.

    In 2017, over 1,000 people were killed in a mudslide caused by heavy rains.

  10. Video content

    Video caption: COP26: President Julius Maada Bio on deforestation in Sierra Leone

    Sierra Leone’s President, Julius Maada Bio, says his country is replanting trees but can do little about illegal deforestation.