- Title: SIERRA LEONE: REBELS ALLIED TO COUPMAKERS TAKE CONTROL OF HASTINGS AIRPORT.
- Date: 8th June 1997
- Summary: HASTINGS, SIERRA LEONE (MAY 8, 1997) (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV/MV: EXTERIOR OF DAMAGED FORMER POLICE TRAINING COLLEGE WHICH IS NOW REVOLUTIONARY UNITED FRONT (RUF) BASE. (2 SHOTS) 0.07 2. GV: BODY OF NIGERIAN WOMAN CIVILIAN WHO ACCORDING TO RUF WAS KILLED IN CROSSFIRE. 0.12 3. GV: BODY -- RUF ALLEGE TO BE THAT OF NIGERIAN SOLDIER. 0.16 4. GV: DAMAGED POLICE TRAINING COLLEGE BUILDING/ WEAPONS LEANING AGAINST WALL/ WEAPONS ROOM STACKED WITH RIFLES (3 SHOTS) 0.32 5. GV/MCU: FORMER SIERRA LEONE FOREIGN MINISTER DESMOND LUKE SAYS THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT THAT THEY (RUF) DO NOT HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE. THE ENTIRE CIVIL SOCIETY WANT TWO THINGS FROM THEM; THE DISSOLUTION OF THE AFRC AND THE INSTITUTION OF CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT. EVERY IMPORTANT CIVIL ORGANISATION HAS NOT ONLY STATED THIS BUT THEY'VE MADE STATEMENTS TO THAT EFFECT. (ENGLISH) 0.56 6. GV: ARMED REBELS AT CHECKPOINT/ STOPPING VEHICLES/ RUNNING UP HILL AND AIMING GUNS. (6 SHOTS) 1.22 7. MCU: RUF CAPTAIN JOHANDES ROBERTS SAYS WE DON'T NEED NO ECOMOG IF ECOMOG INTERVENES THEN WE'LL GO FIGHT FOR THE LAST TEN YEARS WE'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP FOR THIS COUNTRY. WE'LL GO FIGHT UNTIL WE DIE. (ENGLISH) / REBEL SOLDIERS. (2 SHOTS) 1.36 8. MCU: RUF OFFICER COMBER SAYS WE THE PEOPLE, WE ARE GOING TO RULE OURSELF. WE WANT THE ONE THAT WILL RULE US NOT WHAT THE INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE WANT. (ENGLISH) 1.43 9. GV/MCU: EXTERIOR/ LUKE SAYS FAILING EXIT BY NEGOTIATION THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT EXIT BY MILITARY INTERVENTION. (ENGLISH) (2 SHOTS) 1.53 10. GV/MCU: NIGERIAN SOLDIERS STANDING BY WEAPONS IN PILE ON GROUND. (3 SHOTS) 2.08 Initials s.3 - p.3 Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVAB2ZX3TMWCL7B88R7F1IWGVA28
- Location: HASTINGS, SIERRA LEONE
- Country: AFRICA Sierra Leone
- Duration: 00:02:08
- Story Text: INTRO: Rebels allied to coupmakers in Sierra Leone have taken control of Hastings airport, which Nigeria had been using to fly in troops and supplies for its nearby military base.
-------------------------------------------------------------------- Revolutionary United Front (RUF) soldiers on Sunday (June 8) showed the bodies of two alleged Nigerian soldiers and one woman who they say were caught in the crossfire in the battle for control.
Former Sierra Leone Foreign Minister Desmond Luke, who is opposed to the coup leaders, claims there was no bombardment and that the RUF was using propaganda tactics.
The loss of Hastings, 18 km (11 miles) southeast of Freetown, leaves the Nigerians reliant on the remote international airport at Lungi, creating logistical problems for any military strike.
Rebel commander Captain Johandes Roberts told journalists who visited Hastings on Sunday that they had seized the airfield on Friday after two helicopters landed carrying ammunition. The Nigerians had assured them they were bringing medical supplies.
Sierra Leonean military authorities in Freetown, now allied with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in the so-called People's Army, confirmed Roberts's account. There was no immediate word from the Nigerians.
Nigeria has been building up its troops in Freetown since the May 25 coup and was widely expected to stage another military strike against the coup leaders after last Monday's unsuccesful attempt to force them aside.
Nigerian troops are digging trenches at their base about three km (two miles) from Hastings, and flying in more men from the Monrovia headquarters of the Nigerian-led ECOMOG regional force, which already had troops in Sierra Leone before the coup.
The coup leaders claimed to have held 300 Nigerian soldiers who surrendered in Monday's battles for 24 hours before returning them to their base. ECOMOG made no comment on the report until their release was announced, and then denied its men were missing.
Roberts said Nigerian troops should leave Freetown at once. "If Nigerian troops attack the positions of the Peoples Army we will fight them to the death," he said.
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