The Sierra Leone Civil War began on 23 March 1991 and ended in 2002.
It was started by the Revolutionary United Front with the help and support of the Leader of Liberia Charles Taylor and his National Patriotic Front with the intention to over throw the Leader of Sierra Leone Joseph Momoh and his Government. The presence of diamonds in Sierra Leone invited and led to the civil war in several ways.
The Civil War lasted for 11 years and over 50,000 lives were lost.
During the first year of the war, the RUF took control in eastern and southern Sierra Leone which were rich in Diamonds. The Sierra Leone Government's ineffect response to the the RUF led to disrupting the diamond production and precipitated a military coup in April 1992 by the National Provisional ruling council.
By the end of 1993, the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) had succeeded in pushing the RUF rebels back to the Liberian border, but the RUF recovered and fighting continued. In March 1995, Executive Outcomes (EO), a South Africa-based private military company, was hired to repel the RUF. Sierra Leone installed an elected civilian government in March 1996, and the retreating RUF signed the Abidjan Peace Accord. Under UN pressure, the government terminated its contract with EO before the accord could be implemented, and hostilities recommenced
Begining of July 2000 the United Nations Security Council decided to impose an 18 month ban on diamond exports from Sierra Leone, recognizing that diamonds have been fueling the conflict. The RUF has been mining diamonds and selling them to fund their weapons purchase and other activities, including human rights abuses.
At the beginning of May 2001, the U.N. security council went further by imposing sanctions on neighboring Liberia for supporting the RUF.
Additionally, a diamond mining ban was announced in Sierra Leone, from 18th July 2001, hoping this might help address the violence.
Sierra Leone is the poorest country in the world, while it has a rich set of natural resources and minerals, including diamonds, which have caused entire countries and corporations to get involved to fight over them. Although diamonds were a significant motivating and sustaining factor, there were other means of profiting from the Sierra Leone Civil War.The presence of diamonds in Sierra Leone invited and led to the civil war in several ways.
However, it is important to understand why the civil war should not be entirely attributed to conflict over the economic benefits incurred from the alluvial diamond mines is that the pre-war frustrations and grievances did not just concern that of the diamond sector. More than twenty years of poor governance, poverty, corruption and oppression created the circumstances for the rise of the RUF, as ordinary people yearned for change.
CHARLES TAYLOR the leader of Liberia was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War.
Ironically today Wednesday the 16th of May 2012 is his sentencing hearing and he will be sentenced on the 30th of May 2012. .
Today the President of Sierra Leone is EARNEST BAI KORAMA.