Claim: Viral videos on social media suggest prisoners from the country’s biggest prison, Pademba Road Correctional Center, have escaped, with some of them roaming free.
Verdict: True. The Sierra Leone Correctional Service authorities have confirmed that the prisoners have escaped.
Following the unrest and gunshot in Freetown on Nov. 26, 2023, a series of events have unfolded. The gunshots in the capital were a result of attempts from unknown people trying to seize control over the armoury at the Wilberforce barracks, officials have confirmed.
President Bio said in a statement on Sunday morning that a group of people attempted to seize the military armoury at Wilberforce Barracks, just a five-minutes drive to the Presidential lodge.
The government has since declared a curfew while attempting to arrest people involved in the plot.
Around 9:00am on the morning of Nov 26, 2023, there were video clips in which persons suspected to be prisoners were seen walking free on the streets of Freetown. Among the prisoners was popular Hip Hop star LAJ, who is serving a 9-year jail term for robbery and assault.
LAJ is seen here in this video dressed in a black hoodie, short red trousers, and sneakers, walking alongside others while people chant his name as they shoot the video.
DUBAWA used Invid to verify the videos, but nothing concretely suggests that the footage was recent. The researcher then enquired to ascertain if the narrative that accompanied the viral videos was true. The Sierra Leone Correctional Service spokesperson, Leslie Cole Showers, told DUBAWA, “Yes, it is true, the prison has been overrun.”
Later in the day, it was confirmed that the correctional service had been overrun by some assailant. An afternoon update from the Ministry of Information stated the security officers had to make a “tactical retreat” to prevent the loss of life of officials as the prisons were attacked.
Viral videos on social media showing groups of people walking out of the Pademba Road Prison cell in Freetown are true. Officials from the government have admitted that the prison was attacked by gunmen who freed prisoners.