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AFRC war crimes convict dies in Rwanda

June 10, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie

Former Public Liaison Officer of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), Alex Tamba Brima, died yesterday while serving a 50-year jail term at the Mpanga Prison in Rwanda for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the Sierra Leone’s decade-long war.

According to a release from the Residual Special Court for Sierra Leone, Brima died yesterday (9 June, 2016) at the King Faisal Hospital in Kigali after a serious illness with his wife by his side. The court stated that an inquest would be conducted soon to determine the cause of death.

Brima, commonly known as “Gullit,” was a senior leader of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council which overthrew the Sierra Leone Peoples Party-led government headed by the late Alhaji Dr. Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1997, barely six months after the latter took over from another junta regime.

The AFRC hierarchy was mostly junior members of the army who had served as bodyguards to the former military government that reluctantly handed over power in November 1996.

Headed by war crimes fugitive Johnny Paul Koroma, the group illegally ruled Sierra Leone for nine months, aided by their civilian collaborators, and spearheaded the murder of thousands, rape of scores of women and young girls, including students who demonstrated against the regime, journalists and pro-democracy activists.

Brima was indicted in March 2003 by the Special Court Prosecutor for serious crimes committed against civilians during the country’s civil war. He was found guilty on eleven counts, including for acts of terrorism, collective punishments, extermination, murder, rape, and for the use of child soldiers.

He was however acquitted on Count 11 (other inhumane acts – a crime against humanity), Count 7 (sexual slavery and any other form of sexual violence), and Count 8 (other inhumane act – forced marriage).

Alex Tamba Brima was born on 23 November, 1971 in Yaryah Village, Kono District. He joined the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) in April 1985 and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant.

It remains unclear whether he will be buried in Rwanda or his body will be flown back to Freetown for burial.

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