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.
Our daughter Fatmata (Binta) Bah is the proud recipient of the Middle School Ambassador award for 2018 for "consistently demonstrating kindness and respect for all members of the community and beyond, for representing DAA in athletics and humanitarian work, for excellence in academics, and admirable work ethic". She is considered as "motivating, gracious, ambitious, inspiring, dedicated to learning, takes pride in her work, a quiet leader who leads by example, never wanting the spotlight on herself, with the ethos of helping others over herself, gentle, kind, thoughtful, with a caring spirit...". We thank God for his blessings.