Sierra Leone Civil War

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Sierra Leone Civil War

Post  kosovohp on Fri Oct 29, 2010 11:36 pm

In October 1990, due to mounting pressure from both within and outside the country for political and economic reform, president Momoh set up a constitutional review commission to review the 1978 one-party constitution. Based on the commission's recommendations a constitution re-establishing a multi-party system was approved by the exclusive APC Parliament by a 60% majority vote, becoming effective on 1 October 1991. By November 1991, political opposition became active once again in Sierra Leone. In late November 1991, president Momoh proposed a multi-party presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in the country in October 1992.

There was great suspicion that president Momoh was not serious about his promise of political reform, as APC rule continued to be increasingly marked by abuses of power. The APC was also alleged to have been hoarding arms and planning a violent campaign against the opposition parties ahead of multi-party general elections scheduled for late 1992. Several senior government officials in the APC administration like Dr. Salia Jusu Sheriff, Dr. Abass Bundu, J.B. Dauda and Dr. Sama Banya resigned from the APC government respectively to resuscitate the previously disbanded SLPP. While other senior government officials like Thaimu Bangura, Edward Kargbo and Desmond Luke resigned from the APC and formed their own respective political parties to challenge the ruling APC.

Civil war broke out, mainly due to government corruption and mismanagement of diamond resources and abuse of power by various governments since independence from Britain (Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Report). The brutal civil war going on in neighbouring Liberia played an undeniable role in the outbreak of fighting in Sierra Leone. Charles Taylor—then leader of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia—reportedly helped form the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) under the command of former Sierra Leonean army corporal Foday Saybana Sankoh, an ethnic Temne from Tonkolili District in Northern Sierra Leone. Sankoh was a British trained former army corporal who had also undergone guerrilla training in Libya. Taylor’s aim was for the RUF to attack the bases of Nigerian dominated peacekeeping troops in Freetown who were opposed to his rebel movement in Liberia.In 2003 Foday Sankoh was indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone for war crimes and crimes against humanity and died under UN custody before the trials could be concluded. Charles Taylor, who is a former president of Liberia, is currently in the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague facing charges of war crimes committed by Sankoh's RUF in Sierra Leone. Taylor is the first former president to face the ICC.

The RUF, led by Sankoh and backed by Taylor, launched its first attack in villages in Kailahun District in Eastern Sierra Leone from Liberia on 23 March 1991. The government of Sierra Leone, overwhelmed by a crumbling economy and corruption, as well as a demoralised army, was unable to put up significant resistance against the incursion of the RUF. Within a month of entering Sierra Leone from Liberia, the RUF controlled much of Eastern Sierra Leone, including the cash crop production areas of Kailahun and the government diamond mines in Kono District

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