Opinion

Libya did not support RUF rebellion in Sierra Leone

9 January 2009 at 23:05 | 1564 views

Press Release

Sierra Leone People’s Democratic League (PDL) is baffled by renewed assumptions that Libya supported the guerrilla campaign initiated by former Revolutionary United Front (RUF) led by Foday Sankoh. Normally it is never the policy of the PDL to argue on statements that are meant to serve individual self ego. But the fact that we in the PDL believe Brother Muammar Qathafi’s visit to West Africa, particularly to Sierra Leone is part of our call for the Libyan leader to extend his country’s goodwill assistance to our people, and we believe he is in Sierra Leone to see for himself and get first hand information on what is needed to consolidate peace, democracy and kick poverty out of the country. We believe the Libyan leader’s visit is right to prepare the ground so that whatever his country donates to Sierra Leoneans is properly managed and reaches the people, and not diverted again to line the pockets of rogue politicians in the country.

It is natural, and we owe it as a duty and as a responsible grouping to defend the presence of the Libyan leader on Sierra Leonean soil, and counter any attempt to use this important visit to smear Brother Muammar Qathafi. It is clear that, Mr. Festus Minnah’s latest allegation re-echoes a similar one that was levelled at Libya by one time Special Court prosecutor, David Craine. There is no iota of truth in such dubious claims by David Craine or Festus Minnah that Libya under the charismatic leadership of Muammar Al-Qathafi trained, armed and funded the former RUF guerrilla campaign in Sierra Leone.

Such baseless and unfounded allegations serve no purpose other than vitiating the Pan-African atmospheric condition and brother relationship that exist between Libya and Sierra Leone on one hand, and between the Maghreb Union and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The allegation which is tantamount to libel against the Head of State of a sovereign independent nation and member of the United Nations, is totally misleading and amounts to duping the public.

It never fails to surprise any sane person how some Sierra Leonean politicians would say anything out of the way to get them in the news. We advise Mr. Festus Minnah and the New People newspaper do make their research well and ascertain facts before jumping in the news and pointing fingers on Libya for the mess in which Sierra Leone finds itself today. One only wonders if the architects of this misguided allegation are humans.

Evidence abounds. Libya was not involved in the former RUF rebellion in Sierra Leone, and we call on Festus Minnah and the New People Newspaper to show credible proofs to justify their anti-Libyan motivated aggressive allegations. We challenge Festus Minnah and his newspaper to disprove that no former RUF or Kamajor, or Donso or even N’dorgborwusi fighter or Commander were ever recruited, trained, armed or funded by Libya. That Libya had never and has not claimed to have territorial ambitions in Sierra Leone, as Liberia did in 1981 over Sulima Island, and the mystery over the former Guinean dictator’s intransigent occupation of the Sierra Leonean town of Yenga and its surroundings.

We know there was a rebel group called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) led by late Corporal Foday Saybanoh Sankoh. We know RUF fighters were Sierra Leoneans and trained inside Sierra Leone. We know the only RUF fighters never trained in Sierra Leone were those who were caught in the Liberian civil war, and came home to join Foday Sankoh’s led rebellion in the country.

Failing to produce evidence on his allegation against Muammar Qathafi, Mr. Festus Minnah would not only be held responsible for crafting a closet full of anti-Libyan manufactured lies, deceptions and slanders, but also stands indicted for a deliberate attempt to sabotage Libya’s humanitarian and development assistance to Sierra Leone. This does not mean that Mr. Festus Minnah would escape charges at a competent court for his deliberate defamatory and libellous statement made against the Libyan leader.

We warn Festus Minnah and his newspaper to look for their problems with their countrymen within their country, rather than trying to have it logged onto Libya. The Jamahiriya has had nothing to do with domestic rebellions and break down of law and order, since the Sanda crises in 1982 to the Pujehun Ndorgbowusu rebellion in 1983, down to the RUF 10 year guerrilla campaign in Sierra Leone. The Government of Libya is well-known and has been proved by its continued support for peace, democratic good governance, human rights, rule of law, freedom and dignity on the continent, as well as the realisation of the pan-African vision of a United States of Africa.

It is our hope that the Government of Sierra Leone, led by President Ernest Bai Koroma values Libya’s efforts to advance the goals of the African Union and in particular, resolving issues of the West African sub-region. We also express our hope that Libya continues to extend its humanitarian and development assistance to Sierra Leone and its neighbours.

Signed:.........................................

Amadu Bailor Bah

PDL Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Solidarity

Photo: PDL leader Alimamy Bakarr Sankoh.

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