Relations between President Ernest Bai Koroma (left) and Mr Sam-Sumana (right) have long been frosty

Sierra Leone Vice President seeks asylum with US

Sierra Leone's Vice-President Samuel Sam-Sumana says he is seeking political asylum at the US embassy in the capital after soldiers surrounded his house.


Mr Sam-Sumana told the BBC he and his wife had fled the residence but it is unclear if they are inside the embassy.

The move comes a week after his expulsion from the ruling party.

Two weeks ago, Mr Sam-Sumana said he was putting himself in quarantine for 21 days after one of his bodyguards died of the Ebola virus.

Police and army sources confirmed to the BBC's Umaru Fofana in Freetown that troops were sent to the vice-president's residence on Saturday morning.

They said the troops were dispatched to withdraw Mr Sam-Sumana's security detail, but would not say whose orders they were acting on.

'No US action'

"I don't feel safe this morning as vice-president," he told the AP news agency by phone. He said he had spoken to US Ambassador John Hoover and was waiting for a response.

US embassy spokeswoman Hollyn Green said embassy officials, including Mr Hoover, had "seen the news" but could not provide any reaction.

"There is no comment at the moment and there is no action on our part," Ms Green told AP.

Mr Sam-Sumana was expelled from the ruling All People's Congress Party last week on allegations of "anti-party activities".

He was accused of falsifying academic credentials, lying about his faith, and fomenting violence. He denied the allegations and rejected calls for his resignation.

Relations between Mr Sam-Sumana and President Ernest Bai Koroma have long been frosty, our correspondent reports.Mr Sam-Sumana was expelled from the ruling APC party last week for 'anti-party activities'

Mr Sam-Sumana, 53, has been vice-president since 2007, when he first stood as Mr Koroma's running mate. President Koroma is now serving his second and final term.

According to a biography on the presidential website, Mr Sam-Sumana has spent time studying and working in the US, and is an expert in diamond mining.

He said two weeks ago that he had chosen to be quarantined to "lead by example" in the battle against Ebola.

More that 3,500 people have died from Ebola in Sierra Leone, which along with Guinea and Liberia has seen the vast majority of deaths from the disease.

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