Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Gaddafi gets a red carpet welcome in Sierra Leone

FREETOWN. Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi arrived Monday to a red carpet welcome in Sierra Leone, a country where he was once accused of backing rebels during a brutal civil war that claimed 120,000 lives.
Kadhafi's convoy of several hundred cars drove into the poverty-stricken west African nation through the border town of Kambia, 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of the capital, from neighbouring Guinea.
He was welcomed by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and hundreds of school children and Muslim followers sporting T-shirts bearing his portrait.
The Libyan leader then arrived in the seaside capital Freetown where thousands turned up along the route to welcome him.
Kadhafi is due to hold talks with Kabbah Tuesday on the African Union and a slew of other issues.
Kadhafi, an avid backer of the concept of a "United States of Africa" which is to be discussed at the African Union (AU) summit to be held in July in the Ghanaian capital Accra, has slammed the continental body's structures as being ineffective.
The Libyan leader who is travelling by road, has been to Mali and Guinea. He is due to leave Freetown this week, for neighbouring Ivory Coast, from where he will proceed to Ghana for the AU summit due at the weekend.
Both Kadhafi and former Liberian president Charles Taylor have been accused of backing rebels in the Sierra Leone war that raged from 1991 to 2001 and was marked by mass killings, mutilations and amputations and rape.

FOCUS Information Agency