Sierra Leone President lauds rebel leaders contribution to peace UN mission
President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah made his declaration on Monday, as UNAMSIL hosted a visit by him, along with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare, to Sierra Leone’s Koidu district. Addressing some 400 delegates from the local population and chiefdoms gathered at a Roman Catholic Church, and with RUF interim leader General Issay Sesay present, President Kabbah noted that the presence of the heads of State in Koidu marked a “turning point” in the disarmament process. He made special mention of General Sesay’s contribution to the peace process. “The war is over,” declared President Kabbah, saying he based this assessment on discussions the heads of State held with the RUF leadership. President Konare, calling the visit a “great day,” thanked the Government of Sierra Leone, the RUF, the UN and neighbouring countries for bringing the peace process to its present stage. For his part, President Obasanjo called the occasion a “unique day” for the people of Sierra Leone and for all West Africans. He credited General Sesay for his “singular leadership” and for fulfilling all commitments the RUF had undertaken. Appealing for help to rebuild Sierra Leone, President Obasanjo said the solution to the country’s present situation must be found through the sacrifices and contributions of West Africa, along with outside assistance.