Sierra Leone’s wartime president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah dies at 82
Ahmad Tejan Kabbah gives a speech during an election campaign rally in Freetown - AFP

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s former president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, widely credited as the man who returned peace to the nation after years of brutal civil war, died on Thursday aged 82, a close family friend told AFP.

“Former president Kabbah died at his home around 15:50 GMT (3:50 pm) and the body has been transferred to the… funeral home in Freetown,” said John Benjamin, a former chairman of Kabbah’s Sierra Leone People’s Party.

Kabbah led the west African country for two five-year terms during and after its 11-year diamond-fuelled civil war, in which thousands had their limbs hacked off and 120,000 people were killed.

He 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.

The cause of Kabbah’s death was not immediately clear although he had been suffering high blood pressure and had been ill for some time, local media reported, with friends and family making several recent visits to his bedside.

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