Essay on Sierra Leone, Overcoming Challenges
2125 Words9 Pages
“High We Exalt Thee, Realm of the Free”, is the national anthem of a rich and diverse country named Sierra Leone (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). Many believe that the names of capital cities or specific emblems always have a meaning behind them, and that is the case for this country in particular. Although the country as a whole has suffered detrimental set backs in their economics system due to civil war, violence, and enclave production; there still exists a strong Sierra Leonean people and culture full of hope for a brighter future. Portuguese navigators were the first to explore the land of Sierra Leone back in 1462 (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). Sierra Leone is located on the west coast of Africa with the Atlantic Ocean providing a coastline of…show more content…
This plays a major role in farming and agriculture. The country flag has three horizontal stripes, the first being green, the second white, and the third blue. The green stripe signifies agriculture, mountains, and natural resources (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). The white strip signifies unity and justice, and the blue strip signifying the sea and national harbor in Freetown (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). Some natural resources found in Sierra Leone are rutile, bauxite, gold, platinum, chromite, and diamonds; the resources most used to economically assist the county are diamonds (Healey, C. 2011). Furthermore, in the 18th century is when the British controlled and occupied the west coastal area of Africa for slave trade (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). Sierra Leone was the perfect location for many corrupt businessmen interested in the slave trade, and became a central point for transporting slaves to the Americas. Many African’s were forcefully taken from their home and families all over the country of Africa were sold into slavery. These individuals who were captured and sold faced harsh traumatic treatment during the process. However, around 1807 through the 1860’s the British outlawed slavery and Sierra Leone became the site of resettlement for free slaves (“Sierra Leone”, 2013). Not only were ex- slaves taken back to Sierra Leone, but African troops who fought with the British in the
The Sierra Leone civil war began in 1991 with the attacks of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), led by former army corporal Foday Sankoh, on government military and civilian targets. While allegedly begun as a response to the corrupt government of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, the RUF quickly turned to acts of terror and violence with little regard to its ostensible political agenda. The RUF captured towns on the Liberian border, killing and torturing numerous citizens. The President is ousted in 1992, setting up a cycle of military coups for the next five years. In 1996, after the first multi-party election in nearly thirty years, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah is elected President. He signs a peace accord with the RUF. Kabbah is ousted by yet another military coup, led by Johnny Paul Koroma and the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) - a force consisting of both army and RUF soldiers who previously fought against one another.
Atrocities were committed on both sides of the conflict, which resulted in over 50,000 killed and one million people displaced. Despite the level of violence, national attention was not drawn to Sierra Leone until 1999, when the United Nations intervened to establish the Lome Peace Accord. This treaty made the RUF commander vice-president of the country with control over Sierra Leone’s valuable diamond mines.
Despite the accord, RUF forces continued their attacks and seemingly random acts of violence against government and civilian targets. The UN sought disarmament, but response on both sides was slow. Eventually, Great Britain intervened, sending in troops to capture RUF forces and restore full power to then-president Kabbah. In 2000, RUF leader Sankoh was captured. Over the next year, UN forces complete disarmament and the war is declared over in 2002. Newly re-elected President Kabbah declared the conflict ended in 2002.
Sierra Leone Civil War Timeline (BBC News): http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14094419