FREETOWN (AFP) – Sierra Leone’s former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, widely credited with returning peace to the shattered west African nation after years of brutal civil war, died on Thursday aged 82.
Kabbah, who led the country during an 11-year conflict in which thousands had their limbs hacked off and 120,000 people were killed, was at home when he was pronounced dead, said John Benjamin, a family friend and former chairman of Kabbah’s party.
Late Ahmad Tejan Kabbah
The government of President Ernest Bai Koroma led tributes to Kabbah, describing him as “one of the pillars of democracy” in the country.
“He will go down in history as one of the leaders who stood tall in ensuring that he shook hands with people that were rejected by the majority of Sierra Leoneans during the war,” government spokesman Abdulai Bayraytay told reporters.
“If we are now enjoying peace and stability in Sierra Leone, there is no way president Kabbah could be dissociated from that.”
Bayraytay said Koroma would cut short a visit to Congo-Brazzaville to return to Freetown on Friday and pay his respects.
Kabbah was praised for launching a disarmament programme that led to the official end of the war in January 2002 with the help of a United Nations peacekeeping force and British military trainers.
years ago, this day (7th April), I lost a very special woman in my
life. 10 years later, I still feel the urge to connect with her. Words cannot
describe the emptiness. There’s no substitute for a mother’s unconditional
love. Neneh, we miss you. May Allah continue to bless you, and may you continue
to rest in peace.
As I was driving my son to his Model United Nations conference where they are debating peace and security around the world, we had a good conversation on what it will take to bring a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He came up with a brilliant idea. He said, “why not separate Jerusalem from Israel and Palestine?”. I asked why, and his response was that everyone claims to own it – Christians, Jews, and Muslims. So, let it be free for everyone. This got me thinking as we continue discussing the various other options on the table and why they’re failing or will fail. Option “fight to the finish”: Maintain the status and fight to find a winner, hoping that one of them will either be defeated or give up the fight. We’ve seen that this approach is taking us nowhere. They have been at each other for decades and all we see if more destruction of lives and property, more hatred and bloodshed, people on the sidelines taking sides due to the religious dimension it has taken, a…