Friday, June 25, 1999 Published at 14:23 GMT 15:23 UK
Nigerian troops to stay in Sierra Leone
Nigerian troops have not been able to prevent many atrocities
Nigeria's new president, Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Nigerian troops will stay in Sierra Leone until peace has been guaranteed.
Speaking during a short visit to Freetown, President Obasanjo said he could not see how the troops could be withdrawn at the moment.
He said they would be needed to cement peace, despite rebel calls for them to be pulled out.
Around 10,000 Nigerian troops are in Freetown at the head of an Ecomog peace-keeping force.
President Obasanjo touched down in Freetown en route to Lome in Togo where talks aimed at securing peace in Sierra Leone are now in their fourth week.
"Within a week, I believe Sierra Leone will start living in peace and I am optimistic about that peace," he said.
Human rights abuses
Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson - who has also been in Freetown - has said the scale of human rights abuses in Sierra Leone is greater than in Kosovo.
She said the international community must act to stop the killing and torture.
Many of them showed terrible wounds or had limbs hacked off.
Mrs Robinson said she wanted to emphasise the need for justice and stressed that her visit was not a one-off trip but part of a greater commitment to Sierra Leone by the international community.
She said it was for others to judge whether the world was exercising double standards by reacting firmly to Kosovo, while paying less attention to Sierra Leone.
"Worst in world"
Mrs Robinson's visit coincided with a report saying atrocities committed in Sierra Leone were among the worst violations of human rights in the world.
The report contains eyewitness accounts of mass murder by the rebels and systematic, organised rape.
One witness saw a female rebel commander forcibly inspecting girls to see if they were virgins, and then handing them over to the rebels who raped them
"This is not a war in which civilians are accidental victims," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.
"This is a war in which civilians are the targets."