Between 1991 and 2002, the small African nation of Sierra Leone was devastated by a decade of war, which killed between 50,000 and 200,000 people. The conflict was also marked by rapes, mutilations and the forcible use of child soldiers in the rebel and regular armies. Twenty years later, the country is still trying to recover from the civil war, one of the most violent and brutal in Africa. Sierra Leone remains deeply divided and riddled with corruption. And despite its many riches, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
For survivors, it is impossible to forget the war in Sierra Leone, which was completed with cash from diamonds mined in war zones and sold for weapons, as depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster “Blood Diamond” starring Leonardo. DiCaprio.
The conflict began when rebels from the United Revolutionary Front attacked eastern Sierra Leone in 1991 on the border with Liberia, an insurrection against the power base of President Joseph Saidu Momoh, who sent troops to crush the rebellion.
The horror of what was to come was unimaginable at the time. It unleashed a chain of violence: coups and the participation of foreign forces, officially or unofficially. In 2012, the former president of neighboring Liberia, Charles Taylor, was sentenced by a special international court to 50 years in prison for aiding and inciting war crimes and crimes against humanity.