Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, was jolted awake by gunshots on Sunday morning. Armed men had tried to break into an armoury at a military base near the president’s home, then attacked two of the city’s main prisons, releasing some of the inmates. At least 19 people, including 13 soldiers, died in the violence, according to the army. The president has vowed to prosecute the gunmen – but what was their motive? Were they inspired by military takeovers elsewhere in the region? One of them is politics. High unemployment mean lots of people want steady government jobs, she explains. This means the stakes are high during elections – people feel they need to be affiliated with certain parties in order to have access to state jobs and other benefits.