CrisisWatch

Tracking Conflict Worldwide

CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations ("standby monitoring") to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.

Filter
Filters Active
Crisis Watch Filter
Clear Filters

October 2023

Africa

Sierra Leone

Standby Country

June 2023

Africa

Sierra Leone

Tensions flared as country went to polls for general elections.

Security forces 21 June clashed with opposition All People’s Congress (APC) supporters in capital Freetown as they gathered to protest “discrepancies in the electoral process”; APC same day said police killed one protester, while police denied firing shots but confirmed arresting 66 people. After elections 24 June proceeded without major incidents, APC said security forces 25 June fired tear gas and live ammunition into their headquarters in Freetown, leaving one person dead; police acknowledged firing tear gas at APC supporters who allegedly harassed passers-by near party headquarters and claimed victory. As APC presidential candidate Samura Kamara called early counts showing incumbent President Bio in lead “daylight robbery”, election commission 27 June declared Bio as winner of presidential election with 56.17% of votes; Kamara immediately rejected results, deeming them “not credible”. European election observers 28 June reported “statistical inconsistencies” in election results and urged election commission to “promptly publish disaggregated results data per polling station to allow for public scrutiny of the results”.

August 2022

Africa

Sierra Leone

Deadly protests over rising cost of living erupted across country, leaving two dozen dead; President Bio accused political opposition of insurrection. Protests over rising inflation and fuel crisis 10 Aug broke out in capital Freetown and elsewhere, with some protesters demanding Bio’s resignation; demonstrations turned violent as protesters clashed with security forces, reportedly leaving six police officers and at least 21 civilians dead in capital Freetown, Kamakwie town and Makeni city. In response, govt same day announced nationwide curfew and 10-11 August cut off internet access. Bio 12 Aug claimed deadly protests were orchestrated by political opposition attempting to overthrow his govt.

July 2020

Africa

Sierra Leone

Deadly clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in north, while doctors went on strike amid COVID-19 pandemic. Security forces 18 July opened fire on protesters who attacked local offices of President Bio’s political party in northern Makeni city, Bombali district, leaving at least four killed and ten wounded; hundreds had gathered to block relocation of power generator to another city, fearing loss of electricity supply. Govt immediately imposed curfew in Makeni. In statement published 21 July, MPs from Bombali district condemned violence and demanded investigation into “use of excessive and disproportionate lethal force by police and military personnel”. Bishop of Makeni diocese 26 July called for calm and “immediate, independent and transparent investigation” into recent violence. Amid escalating tensions between health workers and govt over alleged misuse of COVID-19 funds, doctors 2 July went on strike to protest unpaid hazard allowance and lack of protective equipment, suspending care of coronavirus patients; 7 July threatened to suspend care for all patients if govt failed to meet their demands. Govt 22 July reopened air borders for commercial flights, closed since March amid COVID-19 pandemic.

May 2020

Africa

Sierra Leone

Amid COVID-19 restrictions, riots erupted early May leaving at least three dead and fuelling political tensions. Riot erupted 6 May over COVID-19 restrictions in town of Tombo outside Freetown, leaving at least two protesters and one police officer dead. President Bio in televised address 8 May accused opposition party All People’s Congress (APC) of inciting violence and terrorism; APC next day denied claims. Court 22 May charged former minister of social welfare and APC politician Sylvia Blyden, arrested 1 May, with several offences, including seditious libel and publication of false news; Blyden released on bail 29 May.

August 2019

Africa

Sierra Leone

Tensions continued following electoral violence. Court 8 Aug handed down prison sentences to 23 members of opposition party All People’s Congress (APC) for vandalism during 30 July clashes between APC supporters and those of ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), clashes triggered after electoral commission called off parliamentary by-election in Hamilton, about 20km from capital Freetown, citing irregularities. Authorities 15 Aug arrested APC politician Kashor Cole; 20 Aug arrested former mayor of capital Freetown Herbert Williams, for suspected involvement in Hamilton clashes. Electoral commission 25 Aug cancelled results of 24 Aug rerun in Hamilton after unidentified assailants ransacked polling station on election day. Amid reports of opposition victory, APC 26 Aug called cancellation “highest degree of provocation and injustice” and accused SLPP of orchestrating attack, pointing to complicity of police, who reportedly stood by during ransack and illegally arrested head of opposition’s polling staff.

May 2019

Africa

Sierra Leone

High Court 31 May revoked parliamentary seats of ten MPs from main opposition party All People’s Congress (APC) for breaches of electoral law during March 2018 legislative elections. Same day police clashed with APC supporters protesting outside party offices in capital Freetown, firing tear gas into offices, injuring several people and arresting dozens, including senior party executives and former ministers.

May 2018

Africa

Sierra Leone

At inauguration ceremony of President Bio in capital Freetown 12 May, attempts by Bio supporters to gain access to stadium led to police charge and stampede that left at least one person dead and about 90 injured.

April 2018

Africa

Sierra Leone

Opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate Julius Maada Bio won 31 March presidential run-off with 51.81% of vote and was sworn in as president 4 April. Samura Kamara, losing candidate of ruling All People’s Congress (APC), 4 April said vote was marred by fraud and vowed to appeal result. Police 5 April clashed with youths in Kenema district in east after fighting broke out between APC and SLPP supporters. High Court 23-25 April placed injunctions on sixteen elected APC MPs, following claims by SLPP that they had illegally received govt salaries throughout election campaigns. Police 25 April forcibly removed them from parliament’s opening session. President Bio late April sacked all country’s ambassadors.

March 2018

Africa

Sierra Leone

Presidential run-off vote took place 31 March; results yet to be announced end-month. In first round 7 March, opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) candidate Julius Maada Bio took 43.3% of vote, while ruling party All People’s Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara took 42.7%. Electoral process largely peaceful but low-level violence and inflammatory tribal rhetoric increased ahead of second round. Skirmishes erupted in capital Freetown 7 March after SLPP spokesman said police had come to search party’s offices without warrant, at least one wounded. Joint military and police patrols deployed 13 March in Koquima town, Kono district in east after APC and SLPP supporters clashed 12 March, several reportedly wounded and eighteen arrested. APC and SLPP supporters reportedly also clashed 15 March in Bo town in south east, SLPP stronghold. Following legal request by APC member and allegations of electoral fraud, electoral commission postponed second round, initially planned for 27 March, by four days.

October 2012

Africa

Sierra Leone

Ahead of 17 Nov polls, violence 27-28 Oct between supporters of rival parties in Kono district wounded at least 10.

September 2011

Africa

Sierra Leone

Violent incidents highlighted potential for unrest ahead of 2012 polls. Internal Affairs Minister Musa Tarawallie’s security entourage 3 Sept shot at youths in Koidu, Kono district, allegedly on his orders. President Koroma condemned incident, ordered investigation. Police 9 Sept responded to violence in Bo between supporters of ruling All People’s Congress and opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) with tear gas, live ammunition; clashes occurred during visit of SLPP candidate Julius Maada Bio to area. Police 22 Sept announced ban on all political rallies; SLPP condemned ban. UNIPSIL Head of Mission Michael von der Schulenburg warned of risks surrounding elections, called for parties to reach agreement on legal framework, code of conduct. UNSC extended UNIPSIL mandate to Sept 2012.

April 2009

Africa

Sierra Leone

Leaders of SLPP and APC parties 7 Apr agreed  to  end  political  violence  and  assist  investigations into March clashes. Freetown now calm. Special Court for SL sentenced 3 former RUF commanders to 25-52 years for crimes during civil war, including forced marriage, mass rape by subordinates. Court received $6.5m additional donor support after raising concerns shortfalls would necessitate release of ex-Liberian President Taylor.

March 2009

Africa

Sierra Leone

Simmering tensions between opposition SLPP and ruling APC members erupted in violence 12 March in southern Gendema during local council by-election in Pujehun district; sparked further clashes in Freetown 13, 14, 16 March; SLPP HQ partly destroyed, at least 17 injured, 3 women reportedly raped. Party radio stations accused of stoking violence closed down. President Koroma 17 March warned of crackdown on those responsible.

February 2009

Africa

Sierra Leone

Special Court for Sierra Leone 25 Feb found guilty RUF leader Issa Sesay and 2 senior commanders of war crimes including mutilation, rape, use of child soldiers during 11 year war. Ruling APC party 3 Feb said unidentified army group issued coup threat over alleged govt corruption, favouritism towards president’s Limba ethnic group.

December 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Charles Margai, leader of opposition PMDC, 22 Dec announced talks with leading SLPP suggesting coalition deal may follow.

November 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

5 police officers seriously injured 25 Nov in attempt to quell student rebellion in Freetown after several students arrested for harassment. 3 Guinean pirates killed by armed forces in foiled 27 Nov raid on South Korean ship off Yeliboya.

October 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

President Koroma 14 Oct announced inquiry into corruption in previous administration; opposition SLPP claim govt will use for “witch-hunt” against opposition.

September 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Govt took steps to deliver 2007 election pledges: President Koroma 1 Sept declared assets under new anti-corruption law requirements for public officials; proposal for return of property seized under former President Strasser’s 1992-1996 rule announced 10 Sept.

August 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Ruling APC party youths 13 Aug attacked opposition SLPP offices in further inter-party clashes; govt- called meeting between parties ended in violence including police attacks on journalists. President Koroma suspended Transport Minister Sesay 4 Aug after brother’s arrest following 21 July cocaine load seizure.

July 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Local elections held 5 July; UN envoy Schulenburg said “generally fair”. UN Peacebuilding Fund 17 July approved $17m for social reform projects. Army deployed in Tongo ahead of elections after series of inter-party attacks. 58 arrested 13 July over large cocaine load intercepted from Venezuela; tightened drug bill approved 21 July.

June 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Reports of violent ruling APC party attacks on SLPP supporters and property 19-20 June, Kono, ahead of 5 July local elections. Female candidates reportedly facing harassment; UN Envoy Schulenburg arrived late month to assess preparations. Govt 13 June announced formation of second corruption commission, to investigate former Kabbah administration. Hundreds arrested, 4 deported mid-month in drive to expel illegal immigrants, mostly Nigerian, blamed for trafficking crimes. UNSC 9 June removed 5 former fighters from sanctions list imposed during civil war.

May 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

UNIOSIL said UN-led inter-party meeting 13 May ahead of July local elections successful. But opposition SLPP vowed to “hit back” if provoked; electoral/party commissions said parties failing to comply with electoral rules. Govt shut down SLPP’s Unity Radio early May, citing technical issues. In ongoing SL civil war trials (see also Liberia), ex-SL President Kabbah testified in defence of rebel RUF leader Sesay; jail terms of convicted militia leaders that fought for CDF doubled 28 May.

April 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

300 youths clashed with police, military in Kano late Apr over ownership of sand stock allegedly promised by ruling APC. Police 11 Apr vowed to curb lawlessness, citing rise since Feb. UNDP announced 3-year $80m capacity building program for SL govt.

March 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

Low turnout reported at 29 March by-elections for 4 seats vacated by appointment of ruling All People’s Congress (APC) parliamentarians to cabinet. Regional chairs of APC, opposition parties 6 March demanded deferral of July local elections until boundary concerns addressed. Anti-Corruption Commission arrested 13 officials 6 March. National army began downsizing from 10,000 to 8,500 to increase efficiency; pledged 850 troops to future UN peacekeeping missions.

February 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

UNSG Ban Ki-moon 6 Feb set out plan for UNIOSIL drawdown: initial 20% reduction of 62 posts to be completed 31 March before full transition to smaller integrated political office by Sept 2008. Electoral commission 13 Feb blacklisted 477 presiding officers for malpractices at Aug 2007 polls. Move comes ahead of 29 March by-elections for 4 seats vacated by appointment of ruling All People’s Congress parliamentarians to cabinet posts; lead opposition SL People’s Party threatened boycott. UK 10 Feb announced resumption of aid to SL after suspension in run-up to 2007 elections.

January 2008

Africa

Sierra Leone

People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) claimed pre-election alliance agreement with President Ernest Bai Koroma’s All People’s Congress (APC) not being respected. Clashes between alleged supporters of APC and ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party in Port Loko resulted in 4 deaths and 11 houses burned 14 Jan. Port Loko District land ownership dispute 17 Jan led to burning of 10 houses.

December 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Youths clashed with police in protest at local diamond mining practices in eastern town of Koidu, 13 December: residents claimed 4 killed. President Koroma urged investigation into former government leaders; part of anti-corruption drive. Government agreed 3-year cooperative framework with UN Peacebuilding Commission, 12 December. UNIOSIL’s mandate extended 21 December for 9 months to help prepare for June 2008 elections.

November 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

President Ernest Koroma inaugurated 15 November following September election victory, completing first democratic transition since civil war’s end 2002. Koroma announced “zero-tolerance” for corruption; leaked internal government report documented widespread graft under previous administration. Former Revolutionary United Front spokesman Michael Omrie Golley, in custody since January 2006 on coup attempt charges, released due to insufficient evidence 1 November.

October 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

President Koroma addressed new parliament, 5 October; pledged to implement recommendations of Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Former leaders of pro- government Civil Defense Force, Moinina Fofana and Allieu Kondewa, sentenced by Special Court 9 October, to 6 and 8 years respectively; denounced by prosecution as too lenient.

September 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Opposition All People’s Congress leader Ernest Bai Koroma sworn in as president 18 September, after winning 54.6% in run-off against Vice-President Solomon Berewa of ruling People’s Party. National Electoral Commission concluded poll valid, despite limited unrest and fraud allegations, successfully completing first elections since 2005 departure of UN peacekeepers. Koroma pledged security for ousted government.

August 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Presidential and parliamentary elections 11 August, first since UN peacekeepers withdrew 2005, generally fair and free of violence. Main opposition APC won 59 of 112 seats, defeating ruling SLPP with 43. Run-off for presidency between VP Soloman Berewa SLPP and Ernest Koroma APC scheduled 8 September. Parties traded accusations of irregularities immediately following vote. Independent Media Commission accused APC-owned radio station of inflaming tensions by broadcasting allegations of vote-rigging. Tensions culminated with violent clashes between SLPP and APC supporters 26, 27 August; police restored order. President Kabbah threatened state of emergency 28 August; further clashes, attack on Koroma’s convoy, 31 August. Trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor by Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL) delayed to January 2008. SCSL convicted 2 former leaders of CDF militia 1 August.

July 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Police reported upward trend in campaign violence before 11 August presidential and parliamentary election; announced tougher measures, but admitted insufficient resources. 10 July campaign start marred by several incidents. PMDC accused SLPP supporters of attacking its Freetown offices 10 July, denied by SLPP. UN’s Sierra Leone Peace Building Fund approved 4 new projects 12 July targeting judicial sector, National Election Commission, armed forces and security sector. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor appeared in The Hague before Special Court for first time 3 July. UK agreed to imprison him if found guilty. Special Court announced first sentences 19 July: 3 rebel leaders convicted of using child soldiers, enslavement, rape and murder; sentenced to 45-50 years each.

June 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Trial of Former Liberian President Charles Taylor by Special Court of Sierra Leone (SCSL) opened 4 June in the Hague. Taylor, charged with 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, boycotted proceedings; failed to appear again 25 June, citing lack of funds for adequate defence team. Judge ordered SCSL to bolster Taylor’s team by 31 July. Court delivered first verdicts 20 June against 3 Armed Forces Revolutionary Council militia leaders guilty on 11 counts of war crimes, including first legal condemnation of recruitment and use of child soldiers. Following mediation by Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf, Guinean troops began to withdraw from disputed Yenga region 11 June ending 7-year presence. Parliament dissolved 25 June in preparation for postponed 11 August parliamentary and presidential elections.

April 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

MP and speaker, Justice Edmond Cowan, announced parliament to be dissolved on 25 June ahead of 28 July parliamentary and presidential elections. Elections groups warned limited time between dissolution and polls would cause prejudice, pose logistical difficulties. Earlier dissolution urged.

March 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Voter registration for July presidential and general elections closed 18 March. Electoral Commission announced 72% of electorate registered in 3-week period and rejected extension request by politicians and civil society groups who claimed over 50% not registered due to logistical problems, violence and poor pay for registrars. First-ever UN Peacebuilding Commission mission began talks 22 March with President Kabbah and senior officials; UN Peacebuilding Fund to extend $35 million. Resentment rose against Special Court for Sierra Leone for indicting Hinga Norman, ex-defence minister, following his (natural) death 22 February.

February 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Government appointed broad-based 35 member panel to update constitution. Referendum on new draft to take place with legislative and presidential elections 28 July 2007. President Kabbah raised concern over threat to regional stability posed by violent unrest in Guinea. Ex-defence minister Hinga Norman died 22 February, weeks before UN Special Court to issue verdict on alleged war crimes.

January 2007

Africa

Sierra Leone

Internal Affairs Minister Pascal Egbenda warned SL police not to favour any political party ahead of or during presidential and parliamentary elections in 2007. Special Court for Sierra Leone postponed Charles Taylor trial to 4 June from 2 April to give defense more time to prepare.

December 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

UNSG Annan’s 28 November report raised concern over prospect for peaceful 2007 elections. Report highlights culture of political intolerance and failure of main parties to articulate clear political platform. Parties accused ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) of denying opposition fair election. UN Peacebuilding Commission announced plans to deliver initial contribution of $25 million by January 2007 to ensure SL begins tackling short-term priorities for youth unemployment plus justice and security sector reforms. UNSC unanimously extended mandate of United Nations Integrated Office in Sierra Leone (UNIOSIL) for 1 year to July 2007 elections. 90% of SL debt, worth about $1.6bn, to be cancelled in series of deals with creditors including World Bank.

November 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Deadline for repatriation of 25,000 Liberian refugees from SL set for 30 June 2007. Rumours of coup plot sparked by arrest of soldier and former RUF fighter Abdul Sesay with arms cache 7 November and subsequent escape.

October 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Médecins sans frontières (MSF) reported public health has not improved since 2001 despite relative stability.

September 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

UNSG Annan expressed concern over delays in trial of former Revolutionary United Front spokesman, Omrey Golley. Government began planning talks to resolve dispute with Guinea over border town of Yenga.

August 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

President Kabbah set July 2007 date for next presidential elections. Joint security patrols began along Liberian border, closed since 2003.

July 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Former Liberian president Taylor appeared before Special Court of SL in The Hague; lawyers said defence team unlikely to be ready before July 2007. World Bank, DFID and African Development Bank signed Improved Governance and Accountability Pact with government to ensure fair elections in 2007 and reduce corruption and graft.

June 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Former Liberian President Taylor transferred to The Hague to face war crimes charges before Sierra Leone Special Court, after UK agreed 15 June to house him if convicted. Political parties began campaigning for 2007 polls; opposition leader Margai stoned by supporters of ruling SLPP party in visit to Kono. New UN peacebuilding commission announced redevelopment as working group subject.

May 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Transfer of former Liberian President Taylor to The Hague on hold as no country willing to house him if convicted. Justice George Gelaga King from Sierra Leone elected to succeed Justice Fernando as president of Special Court. Presidential candidates began to prepare for 2007 elections; police announced impartiality.

April 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Former Liberian President Taylor appeared in Special Court 3 April, pleaded not guilty to charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for role in SL civil war. UN Security Council considered resolution to transfer trial to The Hague for security reasons, but question remained as to where Taylor might be accommodated afterwards; Taylor’s defence lawyer filed motion trial be held in SL. Peoples Movement for Democratic Change party, headed by Charles Margai, officially registered 11 April.

March 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Special Court asked International Criminal Court in Hague to host trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor to avoid regional instability. Liberia handed Taylor to Special Court following extradition from Nigeria. Trial for Revolutionary United Front spokesman Omrie Golley and 2 co-accused continued despite reports all needing medical attention. Charles Margai, Golley’s lawyer, appeared before Supreme Court in relation to harassment of Vice President Berewa in Bo, December 2005.

February 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

Trial continued for former leader of Civil Defence Forces militia Samuel Hinga Norman, indicted by UN Special Court for crimes against humanity during civil war: President Kabbah subpoenaed to testify. In local trial, former Revolutionary United Front rebel spokesman Omrie Golley and 2 co-defendants charged with treason boycotted proceedings alleging judge biased.

January 2006

Africa

Sierra Leone

UN Integrated Office in Sierra Leone began mandate 1 January to help consolidate peace and prepare for elections, after UNAMSIL departure. Former rebel Revolutionary United Front spokesman Omrie Golley arrested and charged with treason; case adjourned to 7 February.

December 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

UNAMSIL 5-year mission ended with departure of last peacekeepers 15 December. Opposition leader Charles Margai arrested 7 December on conspiracy charges in connection with November harassment of Vice President Berewa by Margai supporters. Situation remained tense amidst threats of violence from Margai supporters as hearing adjourned until 12 January.

November 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Tensions escalated between Vice President Berewa and opposition leader Margai, threatening political turmoil. Margai arrested on charges of provoking instability after his supporters reportedly harassed Berewa 21 November, later released on bail. Violent protests after arrest; situation somewhat defused upon Margai’s release. Media censorship continued but journalist Paul Kamara released 30 November. Anticorruption Commissioner Val Collier sacked; considered blow to commission’s independence. UN Security Council authorised UNMIL to arrest Charles Taylor and transfer him to Sierra Leone Court if he returns to Liberia.

October 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Situation improved with President Kabbah stating intention to repeal seditious libel law, used to silence media, and continuation of anti-corruption cases, including charges of trafficking in passports. Opposition leader Margai asked Kabbah to appoint Political Parties Commission, saying failure to do so impeding party registration. UN announced aid shortfall for special war crimes court threatening 2006 activities. UN called for establishment of human rights panel and program to monitor situation after UNAMSIL departure.

September 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

UN Security Council approved UN Integrated Office for Sierra Leone 31 August, due to replace existing UNAMSIL peacekeeping mission 1 January 2006.

August 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Ruling SLPP party leadership convention, scheduled 19-20 August, postponed by Supreme Court after detained war crimes indictee and aspiring candidate Chief Sam Hinga Norman filed injunction against party members for illegally holding political office while running for leadership; convention contentious as victor perceived likely 2007 SLPP presidential candidate and next SL president. Opposition All Peoples Congress convention to be held 1-4 September.

July 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

UN Security Council voted to extend UN mission for final 6 months; further troop draw-down in August. Campaign to succeed President Kabbah as leader of People’s Party - and candidate for 2007 elections - began amidst growing discontent with 2-party system. Former Kamajors head Sam Hinga Norman said would run, despite detention by UN Special Court.

June 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

No movement in Yenga dispute with Guinea; planned meeting between President Kabbah and Guinean PM Diallo not held. Rising discontent over inability of government to tackle corruption, improve economy and attract investment.

May 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Pressure from Special Court for Sierra Leone led U.S. House and Senate to call for extradition to court of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor from Nigeria; Nigerian President Obasanjo said Taylor would be sent to Liberia if that government, to be elected in October 2005, so requested.

April 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Concern about refugee unrest following World Food Programme plans to reduce food basket by 30%. Sierra Rutile Mines, once biggest industry in country, reopened after decade of closure.

March 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

War crimes tribunal chief prosecutor, David Crane, announced will leave July, casting doubt on extradition of Charles Taylor. Court welcomed arrest of Dutch citizen in connection with arms trafficking, while 3 members of former military junta went on trial for crimes against humanity. Deputy defence minister and ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party member Joe Blell accused of corruption. Fuel shortages continue.

February 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

Government weakened oversight of newly- launched anti-corruption strategy. President Kabbah warned Anti-Corruption Commission against public allegations before full investigation, citing risk announcement of investigation into 6 ministers would prove destabilising; reversed donor commitments, announcing central role for discredited Attorney General’s office. Investigative journalists intimidated by arrest of anti-corruption journalist Olu Gordon. Special Court for Sierra Leone continued trials, but hit by incarceration of Chief Investigator Halloran on molestation charges. Freetown student demonstrations marked risk of growing civil unrest.

January 2005

Africa

Sierra Leone

General strike 3-4 January ended peacefully with government concessions. Sierra Leonean media reported continued Guinean occupation of diamond- rich Yenga and harassment of Sierra Leonean residents.

December 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Proposed 2005 budget included several anti-corruption measures, shifting focus from reconstruction to development. Ten sentenced to death, 4 acquitted after 8-month trial on charges of attempting January 2003 coup; former Armed Forces Revolutionary Council leader Johnny Paul Koroma believed abroad. No progress in Yenga dispute with Guinea.

November 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Trial of indicted former members of Civil Defence Force resumed at Special Court without defendants present; evidence heard on Kamajors conduct during war.

October 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone remained generally quiet. Paul Kamara, editor of For Di People newspaper, jailed for 2 years for sedition against President Kabbah.

September 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Guinean troops pulled back to border 6 September, ending long-standing Yenga dispute. UN Security Council extended mandate of UN Mission in Sierra Leone to 30 June 2005; presence and tasks to be reduced early 2005. UN handed over security of Freetown to government 23 September. Human Rights Watch warned Special Court for Sierra Leone needed more funds to function fully.

August 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Dispute continued over status of Yenga town, occupied by Guinean troops. Sierra Leone and Guinea agreed 6 August at Conakry talks to joint mission to determine solution.

July 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Country relatively stable, despite lingering border tensions with Liberia around Dawa, where LURD rebels remain; and rising disagreement over Guinean presence in town of Yenga. UNHCR repatriation program saw last of 178,000 refugees returned to Sierra Leone 22 July.

June 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

UN-backed war crimes tribunal under way 3 June with trial of Sam Hinga Norman, former head of pro- government Civil Defence Forces (CDF) and 2 members of Kamajor militia. Norman, first of 13 indicted to appear after 1991-2001 civil war, refusing to recognise jurisdiction of mixed international and Sierra Leonean court. Rebel RUF suspects face trial July.

May 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone voted in local elections for first time in 32 years 24 May, but turnout did not top 40%. Both sides suggested voter intimidation and malpractice, prompting 68 separate appeals. Former Liberian President Charles Taylor lost legal attempt 31 May to avoid UN- backed war-crimes trial.

April 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

2 electoral officials charged with embezzlement of public funds in lead-up to local government elections on 22 May.

March 2004

Africa

Sierra Leone

Opening ceremony for Special Court for Sierra Leone courthouse held 10 March. Appeals chamber rejected application by lawyers for defendant that president of court, Geoffrey Robertson, stand down from all hearings because of possible bias, but ruled he should not hear cases involving former RUF rebels. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan asked General Assembly for $40 million 15 March to cover shortfall in court funds. UN voted to extend mandate of peacekeeping force by 6 months to 30 June 2005.

Subscribe to Crisis Group’s Email Updates

Receive the best source of conflict analysis right in your inbox.