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Body of Dead Sierra Leone Rebel Leader Disappears - 2003-08-25

Police in Sierra Leone say the body of rebel leader and indicted war criminal Foday Sankoh has disappeared from a grave in his hometown.

Reports say police investigating the incident believe the body was exhumed sometime during the night.

Sankoh died late last month after a long illness and was buried in his village some 320 kilometers away from Freetown.

After his death, hundreds of people crowded the hospital in Freetown rejoicing over the news.

Foday Sankoh was the founder of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front rebel movement, which launched its insurgency against the government in 1991.

Sankoh's rebels were notoriously brutal, known for torturing and raping civilians. They became infamous for hacking off the hands, feet, ears and noses of their victims.

The U.N. court was trying to determine if he was well enough to stand trial just before he died.