The evil that men do.

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Captain Valentine Strasser, the former military ruler of Sierra Leone, has become a "political football" being kicked around by The Gambia and his adopted home, Britain, where he has lived since his overthrow in January 1996.

Strasser arrived in The Gambian capital, Banjul, on 27 October, only to be deported to Britain five days later. Strangely the British refused him entry and sent him back to Banjul on 7 November. The Gambians then decided to deport him to his home country, Sierra Leone, but a senior Sierra Leonean diplomat rescued him from the airport, telling immigration officials that Strasser needed to have a bath and a little rest before catching his flight home.

Somehow Strasser missed his flight. By the time of going to press, he was still somewhere in Banjul. The Sierra Leone high commissioner then told the Banjul press that Strasser "is not a wanted man in Freetown and can, therefore, go back home". So, why Can't he go then?

The young man who ruled Sierra Leone from 29 April 1992 to 16 January 1996, arrived unexpectedly in Banjul on 27 October by a regular tourist flight.

The next day, he was spotted by Sierra Leoneans at the Del Tew Bar in Serrekunda, 14 kms outside Banjul, which has a largely Sierra Leonean clientele.

Francis Kposowa who was in the bar at the time told New African: "Everyone was shocked to see our former leader in this seedy bar. Some of us thought he was a ghost, until a bar-tender gathered enough courage to approach him, and asked: 'Aren't you Strasser?' He looked up and answered yes."

All hell broke loose as the Sierra Leoneans in the bar immediately surrounded Strasser, hurled insults at him and accused him of contributing to their country's current sorry state.

"Strasser looked rattled," said Kposowa. "He started to explain that he was not to...

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