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Sierra Leone coup kills two Lebanese

By DALAL SAOUD

BEIRUT, May 26 -- Lebanese Foreign Minister Fares Boueiz said at least two Lebanese have been killed and two more wounded in the west African state of Sierra Leone after the army seized power and overthrew the elected government of President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah. Boueiz describes the condition of the Lebanese in Sierra Leone as 'very critical' because of the prevailing instability after the coup and says Lebanon is engaged in contacts with some European countries to help them.

He said two Lebanese identified as Hassan Said, the son of prominent businessman Jamil Said, and Walid Roumieh, were killed. Two others, including another son of Jamil Said, were wounded. Ministry sources said they were slain by armed men who took to the streets and looted properties. Boueiz said chaos prevails in the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown, after a surprise coup led by Maj. Johnny-Paul Karoma and the consequent release of a number of military and civilian prisoners. He said Lebanon is in contact with Britain and France to help supply food and water to a great number of the estimated 3,000-member Lebanese community who sought refuge at their country's embassy in Freetown. Boueiz referred to the difficulties in contacting Lebanese Ambassador in Freetown Mohammed Deeb, who said in a last contact with him Sunday that Ghanaian and Nigerian forces were controlling the situation there. Deeb has asked the Lebanese Foreign Ministry to intervene 'to protect the Lebanese from the dangers of looting and killing as well as the state of chaos.' ---

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Copyright 1997 by United Press International. All rights reserved. ---

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