Sierra Leone

  1. 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
  2. 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.

  3. 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, Chegg.org 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
  4. 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
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  5. Sierra Leone tanker explosion: The lives and livelihoods destroyed

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    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.

  6. 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.

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    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.

  8. Landmark ruling in Sierra Leone 'revenge porn' case

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    Video caption: A court in Sierra Leone has handed a landmark sentence for so-called 'revenge porn'

    A court in Sierra Leone has handed a landmark sentence for so-called 'revenge porn'.

  9. Africa Eye: Lady P and the Sex Work Sisterhood

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    Video caption: Abused, abducted or killed. Africa Eye explores the world of sex workers in Sierra Leone.
  10. Sierra Leone abolishes death penalty

    Sierra Leone has formally abolished the death penalty, after President Julius Maada Bio signed into law a new measure outlawing capital punishment that was agreed by MPs in July.

    "As a nation, we have today exorcised horrors of a cruel past," the president said in a statement quoted by AFP news agency.

    "We today affirm our belief in the sanctity of life."

    Rights group Amnesty International said that last year 39 death sentences were handed down.

    But no-one has been executed in Sierra Leone since 1998.

    Death sentences have often been commuted, but by the end of last year 94 people were still on death row, Amnesty said.

    Sierra Leone has now will become the 23rd African country to have abolished the death penalty, the New York Times reports.