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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 August, 2003, 19:10 GMT 20:10 UK
Sierra Leone rebel chief buried
Sierra Leonean RUF rebel leader Foday Sankoh
Angry civilians captured and beat Sankoh before handing him in
Former Sierra Leone rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, was buried on Sunday in his home town, Magburaka.

The simple ceremony was attended by his Senegalese-born wife, Fatou, about 210 km (130 miles) from the capital, Freetown, where his body was released on Saturday.

Sankoh, 65, was an indicted war crimes suspect blamed for one of Africa's most horrific civil wars.

He died on Tuesday while in the custody of the UN-backed war crimes court.

An autopsy conducted by UN doctors concluded he died from respiratory failure due to a pulmonary embolism.

Crimes against humanity

Hundreds of angry Sierra Leoneans thronged the streets of Freetown on Saturday to watch as Sankoh's body was transported in a police van amidst heavy security to the city's main hospital.

Many jeered as the vehicle passed them in drizzling rain, Reuters news agency reported.

"Take his body to hell or give it to us, the crowd, to burn his body to ashes," one woman shouted.

Sankoh, a Libyan-trained guerrilla leader, was the head of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front during a brutal 10-year campaign to win control of the country's government and diamond fields.

His fighters made a trademark of lopping off the hands, feet, lips and ears of men, women and children - even babies.

Arrested in 2000, he spent three years in detention and was due to stand trial for alleged crimes against humanity, including murder, sexual slavery and extermination.

UN prosecutors estimate that more than 50,000 people were killed before outside military intervention crushed the rebels and ended the conflict in early 2002.


SEE ALSO:
UN blamed for Sankoh death
31 Jul 03  |  Africa
Foday Sankoh: The cruel rebel
30 Jul 03  |  Africa
UN court rejects Sankoh plea
23 Jul 03  |  Africa
Bringing justice to Sierra Leone
17 Jan 02  |  Africa


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