Sierra Leone makes Bengali official language
Sierra Leone has named Bengali an official language in recognition of the contributions to the war-torn country by Bangladeshi peacekeepers, a defence ministry spokesman said Saturday.
A message recognising Bangladesh’s national language was received in Dhaka from Sierra Leone, the spokesman said.
Sierra Leone’s President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah first made the announcement earlier this month as he inaugurated a 54-kilometer (33-mile) road constructed by Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the west African country, the spokesman said. Sierra Leone’s 16,830-strong peacekeeping force is the world’s largest and includes military personnel from 31 countries. Bangladesh has over 5,300 troops serving under the UN flag, more than any other country.
English is the chief official language of Sierra Leone, but vernacular languages are more widespread with an English-based Creole serving as the lingua franca.
Sierra Leone is home to small but significant communities from South Asia and the Middle East. A 10-year civil war was formally declared over in January. —AFP