Sierra Leone 'to pay Togolese chopper crash victims'By KEMO CHAM in Freetown | Wednesday, May 23 2012 at 10:25
Sierra Leone's Minister of Transport and Aviation has said the country has accepted "liability" for the fate of Togolese football fans who died in a helicopter crash about five years ago.
Last week the minister assured relatives of the 19 football fans who died in the accident, including Togo's sports minister, that they would receive compensation.
"We have accepted liability and engaged Paramount Airlines as there was a valid insurance document covering all on board the aircraft," Vandi Chidi Minah, Minister of Transport and Aviation, said at a press briefing following a visit to Lome.
A total of 22 people died when their helicopter, run by Russian company, Paramount Airlines, crashed at Sierra Leone`s Lungi International Airport.
The Togolese team had just played an African Cup of Nations qualifier match with the Leone Stars of Sierra Leone, and they were headed to the airport to board their plane to return home.
Thirteen of them died, including Togo`s minister of Sports. Other nationals were Senegalese and Gabonese, who had officiated the match.
"The issue has taken too long and we don't want the issue to affect the excellent relations existing with the government and the people of Togo," the minister said.
Earlier on Wednesday, the minister`s deputy had said that the government was struggling to secure funds to pay the compensation, which has been a longstanding demand by family members of the victims and the Togolese FA
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