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Vol 41 No 12

Published 9th June 2000

Sierra Leone

Kabbah, the survivor

Sankoh's absence - even if temporary - boosts Kabbah but the soldiers manoevre

The arrest and detention on 19 May of Corporal Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front, strengthened President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah's weak and too conciliatory government. Kabbah has been bolstered by the recent military successes of the 'loyalist forces' (the various factions of the Sierra Leone Army, SLA, and its militia allies, AC Vol 41 Nos 10 & 11). So he rejected calls from Liberia's President Charles Taylor for Sankoh to be taken to a 'safe country' and publicly insisted that his discussions with his fellow West African leaders on Sankoh's future had been misinterpreted by Lansana Kouyate, the vacillating Executive Secretary of the Economic Community of West African States. Having announced that Sankoh was to be flown out of Sierra Leone, Kouyate had to apologise on the BBC, saying that he had misunderstood the Ecowas discussions.

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