Troops loyal to coup attacked in Sierra Leone
June 19, 1997
Web posted at: 12:39 p.m. EDT (1639 GMT)
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (CNN) -- Soldiers loyal to Sierra
Leone's military ruler fought off an attack on Thursday in
the eastern region capital of Kenema, the governor of the
Capt. Eddie Kanneh said by telephone from Kenema that
truckloads of Kamajors -- a militia loyal to toppled civilian
president Ahmed Tejan Kabbah -- attacked the town on several
"There are so many bodies of Kamajors lying around killed in
the battle (on Thursday) between government soldiers and
Kamajors for control of Kenema," he said, adding that
soldiers had suffered gunshot wounds and other injuries.
The attack was the latest in a series of clashes between the
Kamajors and the army in the region.
Junior army officers led by Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma seized
power on May 25, ousting Kabbah, who took office in March
1996 after multi-party elections that ended four years of
Kabbah had used the Kamajors as a civil militia to help the
army push back rebels who took up arms in 1991.
The coup leaders accuse Kabbah of dividing the country along
tribal lines and blocking peace with the rebels, who rallied
to the military coup and have flooded into the capital
Koroma, who was sworn in as head of state on Tuesday, pledged
to restore peace and eventually democracy.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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