Sierra Leone Civil War
war in Sierra Leone was one of the most brutal wars in African history. Sierra Leone
is a small West African country. Like other African countries, it struggled to
establish a stable government. After its independence from Great Britain,
poverty and hunger became more evident in the nation. Their frustration evolved
into a decade long civil war that took the lives of over 50 thousand people.
Innocent children were dragged from their homes and forced to join the rebel
The rebels or
RUF, Revolutionary United Front, were led by Foday Sankon, who became known as
the Adolf Hitler of West Africa. The rebel cause originally begun mainly
because the education system had shut down; and with no education, young people
could not get jobs. As the war progressed, the youth lost track of their goals
and began to kill innocent villagers. They became an unstoppable force that
focused on the control of diamond mines used to finance the civil war. This diamond
financed weapons enabled the rebels to terrorize local towns who gained control
of Eastern Sierra Leone. A key element of their terror was the kidnapping of
children; most were used as child soldiers in support of their cause. Some
child soldiers were also used to control the diamond mines.
after the war started, a group of Sierra Leonean officers led by Valentine Strasser,
took over the government and the capital. They believed the government was not
doing enough to eliminate the rebels from the Easter diamond mines. He implemented
child soldiers to his army as well. Unfortunately, Valentine’s army proved to
be just as unsuccessful as the last government in stopping the rebels.
Valentine then attempts to stop the rebels by hiring a global military group
called Executive Outcomes. This military group was able to push the rebels back
to their headquarters in Kono. With the rebels under control, Valentine’s power
was taken away and the government is put back in the people’s hands. Democratic
elections begin, but the rebels resurfaced; terrorizing the people into not voting.
With the help of Ecomogs, the Sierra Leone forces were able to push the rebels
out of the capital. Ecomogs aid to the Sierra Leone government and the extreme
losses from the capital, rebel leader agreed to sign a peace treaty with the
president. The peace treaty brought an end to the tragic war.