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Sierra Leone
From 1993 onwards the people had to endure a brutal War for the control of Diamonds and Gold deposits in the country’s eastern province. An insurgent rebel movement, the Revolutionary United Front (“RUF”), was sponsored and actively supported by foreign powers to loot these valuable resources. The RUF included international mercenary troops, some from Western European countries. After the RUF gained control over the land, it also controlled the mining of diamonds.

The diamonds were sold on the Israeli and European Exchanges, generating an estimated income of $US200 Million for the Rebels since 1982. It was not until the year 2000 that the sale of these diamonds was declared illegal. With the assistance of military forces from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG) and United Nations Peace Keepers, the War was declared over in the year 2000, but it was not until 2003 that UN Forces successfully countered the rebels’ last cross-border insurgency from neighbouring Liberia, and finally drove the remnant rebel movement out.

A short Chronology of the History of Sierra Leone:

 

1462

The Portuguese explorer Pedro Da Cintry discovered Sierra Leone. He named it Serra Lyoa meaning the “Lion Mountain”.

1787

English settlers took charge of the land and sent a large number of freed slaves to settle in what was then called the Province of Freedom.

1808

The British took over the coastal areas.

1961

Sierra Leone was declared independent.
1896 The hinterland is proclaimed a British protectorate.
1951 The British introduce limited self-government.
1961 Sierra Leone is declared independent.

1971

Sierra Leone becomes a Republic.
1980’s Political instability in the Capital leads to the loss of control over remote regions and subsequent exploitation of resources by foreign interests.

1992

Rebel soldiers led by Capt. Valentine Strasser overthrow the government of President Joseph Momoh and formed the National Provisional Revolutionary Council.
1996 Capt. Strasser is overthrown by a Palace coup. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah becomes the first democratically elected President.
1997 Tejan Kabbah is overthrown by a military coup led by Maj. Johnny Paul Koroma who is assisted by the RUF and by aid from President Charles Taylor of Liberia. Koroma forms the “Armed Forces Revolutionary Council” (AFRC).
1998 The Nigerian-led Ecomog military forces are helped by a London-based arms and mercenary firm, Sandline International, to stage a counter-coup and reinstate President Kabbah.
1999 Rebels of the RUF storm Freetown and demand the ousting of President Kabbah.
1999 March, Ceasefire is signed by rebels after the intervention of Ecomog.
1999 July, Peace accord is signed in Lome, bringing all parties, AFRC, RUF and the government of Kabbah to form one government.
2000 RUF rebels capture 500 UN peacekeepers. Eight hundred British paratroopers arrive to protect nationals in Freetown as rebels arrive on the edge of the capial. A renewed ceasefire brings peace.
2003 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission is formed.
2004 The Special Court is formed.
 
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