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.
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.
Sierra Leone's former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah dies at 82 - Vanguard News
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