An official at a hospital who asked not to be named said that at least 20 people were treated for injuries, including six women who were raped during the riot.

Sierra Leone has been recovering from years of political turmoil and has held two elections deemed by international observers to have been free and fair.

Though rich in mineral resources that include diamond fields, the former British colony ranks bottom of the 177-nation UN Human Development Index, making it one of the poorest countries in the world.