About two police officers and a civilian have been confirmed dead after a day of anti-government protests in Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown.
The Sierra Leonean government had previously announced this, but at the time, the death count was still ascertained. Protesters have thrown rocks and burned tires in the streets out of frustration because of the deteriorating economic hardship in the country as well as other issues.
The protests had been a result of a long-simmering frustration caused by the rising prices for basic goods in Sierra Leone, where more than half of the population of about 8 million people are living below the poverty line, according to World Bank.
The government on Wednesday, imposed a nationwide curfew to prevent further breakdown of law and order in the country. The West African country, had been struggling with rising inflation, increase in fuel costs, and fuel crisis.
Hundreds of protesters had taken to the streets of Freetown on Wednesday, to protest the growing economic hardship. Sierra Leoneans had also been protesting against corruption and police brutality. A lot of citizens had called for the resignation of President Julius Maada Bio, the Sierra Leonean President.
This resulted in the government imposing nationwide dusk to dawn curfew, announced by the vice president.
Various leaders of the West African regional bloc of ECOWAS have criticized the violence happening in Sierra Leone. In a statement in Abuja, ECOWAS called on all citizens to obey the law and order and that the perpetrators of violence be identified and brought to book.
Earlier on Wednesday, the internet observatory, NetBlocks revealed that Sierra Leone was facing a near-total internet shutdown during the protests, with the national connectivity at 5% under the ordinary levels.