Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone: What is life for the prostitutes of Freetown?
Two prostitutes who work on the streets of Freetown, Sierra Leone, tell their stories.

Sierra Leone ex-president in bodyguard row

Umaru Fofana

BBC Africa, Freetown

Sierra Leone's former President Ernest Bai Koroma
Getty Images
Ernest Bai Koroma says he received no warning about the removal of his security detail

Sierra Leone's former President Ernest Bai Koroma - who stepped down last year after serving the maximum two terms in office - says he feels unsafe after being left without state security details.

Regional army and police chiefs in Mr Koroma's home town of Makeni told him last week that his guards, numbering in their dozens, were being replaced with another contingent.

Mr Koroma says he received no prior warning and called the move "suspect, faulty and disrespectful".

But Information Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray has dismissed the complaint as "much ado about nothing" and merely a "routine change" as part of the guards' "all-round career development".

"He is without guards not because the state has refused him one. It is of his own choosing - that he does not want the guards assigned to him," Mr Swaray adds.

It comes amid tension between the ruling SLPP party and the opposition APC, which Mr Koroma still leads. Three judge-led commissions of inquiry are investigating allegations of state plunder under Mr Koroma's APC, which the party rejects as politically motivated.

A Pan-African engineering corps to build infrastructure?

Former president of Sierra Leone plans to recruit soldiers from across Africa
The former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, is hoping to recruit soldiers from across Africa to create an African engineering corps.

Some of the most significant infrastructure in America was built by the US army corps of engineers - from the country’s first roads through to the Kennedy Space Centre. The former president believes a similar peacetime military operation could help to accelerate infrastructure building across the continent.

In his first interview since leaving office a year ago Mr Koroma met Newsday’s Alex Ritson at the Horasis conference in Portugal.

(Photo: Ernest Bai Koroma at the Horasis conference in Portugal. Credit: BBC)
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'Bizarre' new Sierra Leone plant identified

Lebbiea Grandiflora
RBG Kew
The aquatic herb was found in a waterfall in the Sewa River

A "bizarre, pillar-like" plant from Sierra Leone has been identified along with more than 100 new species of plant and fungus worldwide in the last year.

Prof Aiah Lebbie spotted the unusual specimen clinging to rocks near a waterfall in the Sewa River and sent a sample to Britain's Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, where it was identified as a new species. The plant, Lebbiea Grandiflora, has been named after him.

Plants that are new to science are still being described, at a rate of about 2,000 a year.

Other new species identified by the Royal Botanic Gardens include a insect-eating pitcher plant from the Philippines, exotic orchids and climbers with untapped medicinal powers.

Many of the plants could have uses for humans, including as food and medicine.

But the botanists warn that many of their new discoveries are already under threat of extinction.

Five years ago, Daniel lost everything to Ebola. Now he's training to become a doctor.
Five years ago, Daniel lost everything to Ebola. Now he's training to become a doctor.

Sierra Leone: ‘How Ebola got into my family’

Mariatu now lives with a relative in Kenema
Five years ago today, the WHO confirmed the first case of Ebola in West Africa. The outbreak started in Guinea before spreading to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone, killing thousands of people. Many of those who died left children behind. Among them is 15-year-old Mariatu Kamara. She’s been talking to BBC Newsday.

(Picture: Mariatu. Credit: Mariatu’s aunt)