Two West African leaders visit Sierra Leone

Freetown- Sierra Leone (PANA) -- Malian President Alpha Oumar Konare, who is ECOWAS chairman and his Nigerian counterpart, Olusegun Obasanjo, on Monday paid a visit to Sierra Leone's diamond-rich Kono area.
According to sources at the foreign ministry in Freetown, the two leaders came to witness the completion of the disarmament process in the diamond-rich Diamond Kono District.
The sources said that Konare and Obasanjo had come to see for themselves the level of destruction done to that area which was occupied by the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
The Two presidents arrived Monday at different intervals at the Lungi International Airport where their host, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and other dignitaries and people of that region received them.
Konare arrived with 15-member delegation, including foreign minister Modibo Sidibe.
Obasanjo led a 25-member delegation including his foreign minister Alhaji Sule Lamido, co-operation and integration minister, Abimbola Ogunkelu and National Security Adviser among others.
The two visiting West African presidents, their host and entourage were later airlifted to Koidu, the main town in Kono, where they were received by United Nations Mission in Sierra Pakistani Troop Sector Commander, Ahmed Shuja Pasha.
The two West African leaders are the first to visit the heart of the Sierra Leone's decade old civil war.
The rebel RUF had established a firm foothold in Kono, from where they extracted diamonds and sold them abroad to fund their war.

03 september 2001 17:14:00

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