Sierra Leone leader urges end to Ukraine war for 'sake of humanity'
Sierra Leone leader Julius Maada Bio, who is running for re-election for a second five-year term, said the war in Ukraine has created devastation in his country and beyond.
Sierra Leone's President voiced hope in an AFP interview that a new African mediation mission would help end the war in Ukraine, which has struck the "poorest of the poor" around the world.
Speaking a month before the West African country's presidential election, Julius Maada Bio, who is running for re-election for a second five-year term, said the conflict has created devastation in his country and beyond.
"We are all suffering as a result of the war in Ukraine... For the sake of humanity, for what is happening, let's end the war," he said in an interview in the capital Freetown on Wednesday.
"I think even those who sympathize with Russia are in favor of stopping this war," he said.
The leaders of Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Senegal, South Africa, Uganda, and Zambia will next month visit Moscow and Kiev in an attempt to broker peace.
Africa, the world's poorest continent, has been heavily impacted by increasing food and basic commodities costs caused by the war's impact on supply lines.
Riots erupted in Sierra Leone in August over rising living costs, killing 27 people and six police officers.
"We have a vested interest in seeing to it that war comes to an end as quickly as possible... especially as a country that has gone through war before -- but also (because of) the impact on us," Bio said.
Sierra Leone's economy is still recovering from a horrific civil war that lasted from 1991 to 2002, as well as the West Africa Ebola outbreak that ravaged the country from 2014 to 2016.
"It is not a pleasure to go begging around nations when you say you're a sovereign nation," he said. "I believe that we can do enough to develop our own resources."
He went on to say that agriculture would be a second-term focus, vowing a "serious policy shift in the Ministry of Agriculture to be able to produce our staple food, to the point that we will not need to import rice."
It is worth noting that the 8 million-person West African country will hold presidential, legislative, and municipal elections on June 24.
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