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Vol XI No 1

The tendency sometimes to protect perpetrators for the sake of peace...doesn't help society. Impunity should not be allowed to stand. - Kofi Annan on Waki report

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120 buried after Sierra Leone ferry disaster -

 

 Updated at: 0214 PST,  Sunday, September 13, 2009


 FREETOWN: Sierra Leone has recovered and buried the bodies of 120 people who died in this week's ferry disaster, a naval official said Saturday, but scores more passengers are still unaccounted for.

Naval Lieutenant Mohamed Turay of the surveillance patrol unit said, "A total of 120 corpses have now been buried, some in mass graves... because of their badly decomposed condition."

He added: "What is happening now is that many of the corpses have drifted from the scene of the accident and it is possible some will float into creeks and other places, but we shall continue to patrol despite the inclement weather."

An official statement by Sierra Leone's President Ernest Koroma released Saturday did not give the number of deaths but stated that Tuesday's "gruesome sea accident claimed the lives of a large number of Sierra Leoneans."

Koroma declared Monday a national day of mourning for the victims of the disaster off the coast of the west African nation.

His statement said "during the day of mourning, citizens are encouraged to wear black armbands while flags will be flown at half mast".

It also pledged government aid to speed up search operations and medical assistance for survivors.

According to survivors, the wooden boat carried goods and passengers including a large number of children and went down within minutes when it was hit by a storm.

Survivors also claimed that rescue operations were slow in getting started and medical officials said there was not enough medicine to treat the few dozen survivors.

Police said on Friday only 37 people were known to have survived after the ferry, the Teh Teh, overturned and sank Tuesday night.

Estimates of the numbers on board ranged from 268 to more than 300.

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ęSierra Herald 2002