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Freetown guerrilla `killed and ran'

THE HARDLINE guerrilla commander Sam Bockarie, blamed for holding up a peace accord in Sierra Leone, executed eight senior aides and then fled his jungle stronghold, the West African peacekeeping force Ecomog said yesterday.

Its statement gave few details but said it expected the delayed disarmament of 45,000 combatants to now go ahead unhindered, in line with the accord. "Sam Bockarie has fled from Kailahun district after he executed eight senior officers of RUF [Revolutionary United Front] on Thursday," the statement said.

Mr Bockarie masterminded a guerrilla invasion of Freetown last January when more than 5,000 people died in two weeks of battles between Ecomog and the rebels.

Ecomog said it did not know where Mr Bockarie went from Kailahun, the rebel bastion in northeastern Sierra Leone where RUF's veteran leader, Foday Sankoh, launched a civil war in 1991. The statement said Bockarie fled with members of his family.