Daily Trust

Ghana mourns ex-UN chief Kofi Annan

Tens of thousands of people came out to pay their respects to the departed former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, at the Accra International Conference Centre.

As early as 10am yesterday, sympathisers began pouring into the centre, where the remains of the global icon will lie-in-state till Thursday, when he will be buried.

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The foyer of the centre has been adorned with nice flowers. The casket draped in Ghanaian national colours was manned by four officials from the Ghana Armed Forces.  A big portrait of the deceased was placed at the head of the casket. A choir rendered solemn Christian songs in both English and Ghanaian languages.

The body of the late Kofi Annan arrived from Switzerland on Monday evening and was received by President Nana Akufo Addo and other eminent Ghanaians. The body was accompanied by some officials of the United Nations, his wife, Nane and children, Ama, Kojo and Nina.

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The chartered plane touched down at the Accra International Airport at about 5.30pm on Monday. The casket conveying Kofi Annan’s body draped in UN colours was carried by a seven-man bearer party.

A short ceremony ensued, which included the traditional ritual of pouring libation on the ground. Afterwards, Christian prayers were said by the officiating priest.

The United Nations bearer party then carried the casket to the Ghanaian side and withdrew subsequently.

The bearer party from the Ghana Armed Forces came and removed the UN colours. Afterwards they draped the casket in Ghana’s red-yellow-green colours.

The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Armed Forces, Commander Veronica Arhin said being draped in the national colours signified that the departed international icon was accorded the highest national honour.

A short prayer session was held, which included sprinkling of holy water and prayers for the repose of the soul of the departed.

The ceremony at the airport lasted for about an hour. Afterwards, the bearer party transferred the casket into a black hearse, which conveyed him to the International Conference Centre.