Conflict Diamonds in Sierra Leone

1645 Words7 Pages
Conflict Diamonds in the Sierra Leone Civil War The Sierra Leone Civil War began in 1991, initiated by the Revolutionary United Front and is said to be fueled by conflict diamonds. The civil war saw nearly half the country’s 4.5 million population displaced and at least 50,000 people died in the fighting while there are an estimated 100,000 mutilation victims (Gberie, 6). What role did conflict diamonds play in the civil war of Sierra Leone? This paper will address this question and elaborate on the causes of the Sierra Leone Civil War. Introduction Sierra Leone has not always been a country of conflict. It began as a British colony ‘intended…for the happy establishment of blacks and people of colour, to be shipped as freedmen’ (Gberie, 18). It was around the time of the country’s independence in 1961 that Sierra Leone began to see the onset of conflict. Siaka Stevens a revolutionary and important political figure defeated the reigning prime minister in the 1967 elections. Steven’s rule became known as the “seventeen-year plague of locusts” (Hirsch, 29). Stevens instituted a one-party state against much protest. The former government was dismantled and replaced with a new APC government hand-picked by Stevens. He destroyed and corrupted every institution of the state. In 1985, Stevens stepped down to his chosen successor, Major General Joseph Momoh. The public was hoping for new leadership by Momoh’s appointment, but this was not the case. Even after Steven’s death, Momoh still failed at exercising effective leadership. Stevens left Momoh the leader of a country with extreme inequality between the coastal capitol, Freetown, and the rest of the country. A health survey published in 1978 reported the infant mortality rate for Freetown was 13% lower than the rest of the country; malaria parasites in blood in Freetown was at 4% versus 36.2 for the

More about Conflict Diamonds in Sierra Leone

Open Document