Sierra Leone rebel leader captured

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The Independent Online

In a dramatic turn of events in Sierra Leone, the leader of the rebel army that has been battling the Government and UN forces is reported to have been captured.

Foday Sankoh, of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), is said that have been siezed, stripped naked and taken to a Sierra Leone army barracks.

Sankoh is said to be being held in the compound of Sierra Leone's former military ruler Johnny Paul Koroma.

The RUF were responsible for siezing over 500 United Nations peacekeeping troops over the last few weeks and although they have since released around 140 hostages the rebels are still thought to hold around 350 peackeepers.

Hundreds celebrated outside defense headquarters after government officials said that the feared rebel leader had been captured.

Soldiers armed with rocket launchers and automatic rifles chased away the crowd and maintained a heavy presence in front of the compound, where they refused to allow cars to stop.

Sankoh disappeared during a peace demonstration in front of his home in the capital, Freetown, during which his RUF fighters opened fire on thousands of civilians. Nineteen people were killed.