Sierra Leone. In February, Nigerian-led West African force ECOMOG entered the capital Freetown and expelled the military junta that had overthrown President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in May 1997. According to Countryaah, the capital of Sierra Leone is Freetown. The entrance was preceded by fierce fighting on the outskirts of the city and bombings of the harbor to prevent the junta from breaking the trade sanctions imposed on it. At least 100 civilians were killed in the fighting and the state of supply in the city became precarious.
Since President Kabbah returned from exile – and replaced the coup leader Johnny Paul Koroma as head of state – the state of emergency was announced to facilitate the arrest of people who cooperated with the junta and to seize their assets. A couple of thousand junta supporters were arrested, including former President Joseph Momoh.
During the spring and summer, mass trials were carried out against junta soldiers and fellow runners. 43 civilians were sentenced to death for treason. All appealed. Momoh was acquitted of the treason charges, but was sentenced to ten years in prison for conspiracy.
The most notable death sentence fell on Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) guerrilla movement. After the 1997 coup, RUF allied with the military junta and Sankoh was named vice president. However, he was never able to take up the post because he was arrested for illegal weapons possession in Nigeria in March 1997 and detained there until he was extradited to Sierra Leone after the fall of the junta. Sankoh had to take care of his defense himself as no domestic lawyer dared to take him on. He appealed against the verdict and was promised help in the higher court by British lawyers, including former Minister of Agriculture Douglas Hogg.
Twenty-four junta soldiers sentenced to death by a military court were executed a week after the verdict. They had no opportunity to appeal.
The ousted Junta soldiers and the RUF continued throughout the year to oppose ECOMOG. Many reports came of the rebels’ bestial advances in the countryside. A UN commission led by the Swedish UN ambassador Hans Dahlgren accused them of killing or mutilating more than 4,000 civilians.
- Abbreviationfinder: What does SLE stand for in geography? Here, this 3 letter acronym refers to the country of Sierra Leone.
Despite ECOMOG claiming control of 90% of the country at the end of November, the rebels in December succeeded in a dramatic counter-offensive. They entered several important locations and stood at the turn of the year just outside Freetown. ECOMOG introduced reinforcements to the capital and foreign citizens began to be evacuated.
History. – At the time of independence (April 27, 1961) the SL government was governed by a coalition (United Front, UF), chaired by the conservative M. Margai exponent of the SL People’s Party (SLPP). Governor general, that is the representative of the British sovereign, head of state, became the African H. Lightfoot-Boston, former speaker of Parliament, while S. Stevens, exponent of the All People’s Congress (APC), took the lead of the opposition. On the death of M. Margai, in 1964, he was succeeded by his brother Albert, whose authoritarian and inefficient government caused the rise of the opposition (APC) especially among young people and Creoles, while the traditional leaders supported the SLPP. In the elections of March 1967, held in a climate of confusion and tension, the SLPP lost its majority; but a military coup, initially promoted by D. Lansana, prevented S. Stevens from forming the new government.
Suspended the Constitution and abolished the parties, a National Reforming Council (NRC) of 7 members, headed by col. TA JuxsonSmith, proclaimed the fight against corruption and issued provisions for the recovery of the economy. While the NRC indulged in the promised restoration of civilian government, another military group intervened with this intent in April 1968: S. Stevens formed the new government, while the SLPP formed the parliamentary opposition; tensions and unrest continued against the backdrop of tribal antagonisms and economic difficulties (a state of emergency was in effect from November 1968 to the following February). The tension was renewed in 1970: in September a new opposition party (United Democratic Party) was formed, soon banned, with a new state of emergency.
In the following years, attempts at coups d’état and attempts on the life of St. Stevens were reported, prompted to sign a mutual defense agreement with Guinea, which sent a contingent of troops. On April 19, 1971, the Republic was proclaimed (Stevens as president and SI Koroma as prime minister). After the elections of May 1973, when the SLPP was unable to present candidates, a de facto single party was established. In 1975 – as eight perpetrators of a plot attempted the year before were executed – a constitutional change split the two posts of vice president and prime minister: SI Koroma retained the former, consolidating his position as a potential successor to the presidency, and assumed together the ministry of finance, while CA Kamara became prime minister. On 12 June 1978 the APC – winner of the 1977 elections – was declared a single party; a government of national unity welcomed exponents of all political forces. In foreign policy the SL – having abandoned the pro-Western line – has in recent years established stronger relations with the Communist countries (aid from China which is carrying out important public works); has entered into important agreements with Libya, which supplies oil and aid; it has intensified economic cooperation with Liberia. has entered into important agreements with Libya, which supplies oil and aid; it has intensified economic cooperation with Liberia. has entered into important agreements with Libya, which supplies oil and aid; it has intensified economic cooperation with Liberia.