Sierra Leone became the tenth African state to go under military rule as a group of army officers swept political leaders into protective custody, dissolved all political parties and suspended the constitution.
Freetown and street scenes; new military junta; general shots of civilians and soldiers; Governor's residence.
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Background: Sierra Leone became the tenth African state to go under military rule as a group of army officers swept political leaders into protective custody, dissolved all political parties and suspended the constitution.
The coup was carried out efficiently and without bloodshed on Thursday (March 23). The officer named as leader of the National Reformation Council, Lieutenant-Colonel Ambrose Patrick Genda who is at present his country's second secretary at the United Nations in New York.
Sir Henry Lightfoot Boston, Governor of the small West African state, is under house arrest. The man he swore in as Prime Minister after last weekend's closely-contested general election, Mr. Siaka Stevens, is in protective custody. His political rival, Sir Albert Margai, the country's former prime minister, is also in protective custody.
Brigadier David Lansana, who intervened after the general election, has been detained by his own officers. Major Charles Blake, a member of the new council, said in a broadcast that the officers, who are backed by the police, had acted because they believed Brigadier Lansana had been trying "to impose Sir Albert Margai as Prime Minister of this country".
Brigadier Lansana had seized effective control of the country when he declared martial law after accusing the Governor-General of acting unconstitutionally in naming Mr. Stevens Prime Minister.
Deputy chairman of the new council is Mr. William Leigh, the commissioner of police. Colonel Genda, a career officer, was sent to New York a year ago because, it was reported, the former prime minister, Sir Albert Margai, wanted him out of the way.