West Africa: Hurricane Warning

West Africa risks being sucked into a devastating regional war, similar to that in central Africa. Liberia’s festering conflict, already almost a decade old, has continued to spread and consume its neighbours. The war has recently encompassed the Mano River Union countries of Guinea and Sierra Leone, it has now expanded east to Côte d’Ivoire and its impact has been felt as far away as Gambia and Ghana. Action is needed, especially from Washington, which has always had special links.

The World Today
4 minute READ

Much of the fighting in Liberia is done by armed youths who have become accustomed to a life of conflict, banditry and lawlessness. This poses new risks of a vicious cycle of violence in the sub-region according to a report by a UN panel of experts on Liberia.

French forces are involved in peacekeeping in neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire following the outbreak of conflict last September. They appear to have helped stabilise the situation although large areas of the country remain under rebel control. Britain likewise intervened in Sierra Leone in support of UN efforts and peaceful multi-party elections late last year, marking a new post-conflict start.

Liberia stands alone. Created by American freed slaves, the country has always looked to the US for assistance. Currently Washington seems to have little appetite to engage in a similar way to what has happened in the two neighbours.

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