Sierra Leone: Free Again

After years of fighting and instability the peace is holding in Sierra Leone as it prepares for elections next month. What are the chances of lasting peace and democracy in this poor West African country, which has just emerged from under a carpet of conflict and crimes against humanity?

The World Today Updated 23 October 2020 Published 1 April 2002 5 minute READ

Peter Penfold

Formerly British High Commissioner in Sierra Leone

In January 18 president Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared ‘Di Wor Don Don’ – the war is over – after eleven years of turmoil and misery. It was the scene of some of the worst atrocities in Africa at the close of the twentieth century.

Returning after an absence of nearly two years, it was immediately apparent that things had much improved. The capital, Freetown, was bustling with cars and people, the shops were full, the street traders out in force. There were no soldiers patrolling the streets. Instead the police went about in smart uniforms and new vehicles. People were smiling, no longer wearing the gaunt expressions caused by hunger and anxiety. Nearly everyone seemed to have a mobile phone.

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