Kabbah fled to Guinea in search of support against
the new junta and found it in Economic Community of
West African States Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) an
agreement between the armies of west Africa to work
together primarily led by Nigerian troops and
financed by the Nigerian economy.
appalled at the level of violence that erupted after
Koroma had declared the war over and it marched on
the capital city of Freetown in support of the
exiled Kabbah government driving the rebels out,
paving the way for Kabbah's return in March 1998
by which time Sankoh had been imprisoned and his
place taken by Sam Bokari, a man known for his
brutal tactics including rape, murder and forced
However early in January of the following year, the RUF marched back into Freetown temporarily ousting
the ECOMOG troops in battles that saw 5000 dead
before they were again forced to flee the city.
By now the Sierra Leone civil war had been raging for eight years
so when in May 1999 a ceasefire was called, there
was cautious optimism for the talks convened in Togo
that saw Sankoh of the RUF released from prison and
made vice-president of Sierra Leone with control
over the diamond mines in exchange for acceptance of
UN peacekeeping troops.
The Lamo Peace Accord came
under pressure just over a year later when RUF
rebels led by Sam Bokari again advanced on Freetown
killing and abducting hundreds of UN peacekeepers.
That year, 2000, saw governments such as that of the
UK intervene to get their nationals out of Sierra
Leone, however the tide was turning and by the
spring of 2001 the UN had begun to secure the area
and disarm the rebels, which saw 45,000 fighters
disarmed by the time the war was formally declared
over in January 2002. Kabbah went on to secure a
victory in subsequent elections whilst Sankoh died
whilst awaiting trial for war crimes.
This short video about the Sierra Leone civil war
serves as a salutatory reminder of a civil war that
ripped the country apart and spawned a generation of child soldiers who knew
little save for the grasp of power through violence.