LOME Africa

[ image: Foday Sankoh was freed by President Kabbah and now heads the rebel side at the talks] World: Africa
Who's who at the Lome talks
By West Africa Correspondent Mark Doyle

Both sides have sent high powered delegations which indicates that they are taking these talks seriously.

The government side is led by the Attorney-General, Solomon Barewa.

Mr Barewa is a practising barrister who has prosecuted a number of the rebels' allies in court. The rebels' overall commander, Foday Sankoh, is heading the RUF delegation but a 55-year-old former civil servant, Mr SYB Rogers, is expected to lead most of the rebel negotiations.

Mr Rogers is described as the Chairman of the People's War Council of the RUF and is said to have been directing fighting in the bush until just before these talks.

Foday Sankoh was freed by President Kabbah and now heads the rebel side at the talks
Both teams have lawyers on board. The government side has Professor Sylvester Rowe, an expert in international law who has worked at the United Nations in New York. He said he would act as a coordinator and spokesman.

The public voice of the rebels will be the RUF's legal adviser, Omrie Golley, who has lived for many years in London.

There are numerous military and security officials on both sides. The rebels have Brigadier Michael Lamine as the ranking officer on their negotiating team as well as three colonels, one of whom, Colonel Idriss Kamara, used to serve in the Sierra Leone government army.

There is also a female military officer on the rebel team, Major Agnes Finnoh, who is the most senior woman in the RUF hierarchy.

The government side has Colonel Tom Carew, an officer who stood out for his loyalty to the civilian President of Sierra Leone, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, when many of his colleagues joined the rebels. President Kabbah's powerful National Security Adviser, Siaka Mansarray is also on the government team in Lome.

Behind the scenes

As is usual with peace negotiations of this sort, some of the most senior figures have remained in the background and may act as ammunition in reserve if the talks require it.

President Kabbah has sent a powerful team to the talks
On the rebel side the main field commander Sam Bokarie, known by his nom de guerre 'Mosquito', is not attending the talks in public, and nor is the former military ruler of Sierra Leone, who has joined the rebels, Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Paul Koroma. These men are however likely to be pulling strings in the background.

On the government side, several top Nigerian military officers will be influential behind the scenes since the Nigerian-led Ecomog intervention army saved President Kabbah from being overthrown by the rebels.

One of the Nigerians closest to President Kabbah is Brigadier-General Maxwell Khobie.

He is on secondment from the Nigerian army to the Sierra Leonean Government and is in charge of the sensitive task of training a new Sierra Leonean army to replace the large proportion of the original national force that joined the rebels.

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