The Temne people called Time, Timni or Timmanee people, are a West African ethnic group. They are predominantly found in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone, as well as the national capital Freetown; some Temne are found in Guinea. The Temne constitute the largest ethnic group in Sierra Leone, at 35% of the total population, more than the Mende people at 31%, they speak a Mel branch of the Niger -- Congo languages. The Temne people originated from the Futa Djallon region of Guinea, who left their original settlements to escape Fulani invasions in the 15th century, migrated south before settling between the Kolenté and Rokel River area of Sierra Leone, they practiced a traditional religion before Islam was adopted through contact with Muslim traders from neighboring ethnic groups, with most Temne having converted over time. During the colonial era, some converted to Christianity; some have continued with their traditional religion. The Temne are traditionally farmers, growing rice, cassava and kola nut.
Their cash crops include peanuts and tobacco. Some Temne are fisherman and traders. Temne society is patrilineal, it has featured a decentralized political system with village chiefs and an endogamous hierarchical social stratification. The Temne were one of the ethnic groups that were victims of slave capture and trading across the sub-Saharan and across the Atlantic into European colonies; the Temne people constitute the largest ethnic group of Sierra Leone. Their largest concentrations are found in the northwestern and central parts of Sierra Leone, as well as the coastal capital city of Freetown. Although Temne speakers live in the Northern Province and Western Area of Sierra Leone, they can be found in all twelve districts of Sierra Leone. Temne people can be found in a number of other West African countries as well, including Guinea and The Gambia; some Temnes have migrated beyond West Africa seeking educational and professional opportunities in countries such as Great Britain, the United States, Egypt.
Temnes are composed of scholars, business people and coastal fishermen. Most Temnes are Muslim; the Temne people speak a language in the Mel branch of the Niger -- Congo languages. It is related to the Baga language spoken to Guinea; the Temne language serves as a major trading language in northern Sierra Leone. As well as being spoken by the Temne people, Temne is spoken by other Sierra Leonean ethnic groups as a regional lingua franca in Northern Sierra Leone. In total, the language is spoken by around 40% of Sierra Leone's population. Little is known about the origin of the Temne people before the early modern period; the Temne consider their ancestral home to be the Fouta Djallon highlands in the interior of present-day Guinea. In the 15th century, the region was invaded by Fulani triggering a southward migration of the Temne to present-day northwest Sierra Leone. Following their migration they came into contact with the Limba people; the Limba, according to Alexander Kup, had settled in Sierra Leone at some point before 1400 CE invading land then-inhabited by Gbandi people pushing them eastwards into Liberia.
The Temne started resettling in the northern part of the Pamoronkoh River. They followed the Rokel River from its upper reaches to the Sierra Leone River, the giant estuary of the Rokel River and Port Loko Creek, one of the largest natural harbors in the African continent; this re-settlement remained precarious, as more ethnic groups arrived in the region to escape wars and jihads, as wars began inside Sierra Leone in the coming years. In the mid 16th century, a Mandé army from the east, referred to as the Mane or Mani and conquered the Temne lands, with the general Farma Tami becoming the ruler of the Temne, his capital Robaga by the Sierra Leone River, now near Freetown, became holy and an economic center for the Temne. The Mane generals and captains divided Sierra Leone between themselves into four principal "kingdoms", with several subdivisions within each. However, Kenneth C. Wylie states, the "kingdoms" were graftings atop existing local structures which continued to survive and influenced the newcomers.
Between the 16th and 18th century, several Mandé ethnic groups such as the Kuranko, the Susu and the Yalunka arrived. A Fula ruler styled Fula Mansa seized power south of the Rokel River; some Temne of the area fled to Banta near the Jong River, these became known as Mabanta Temne, while the Temne who accepted the Fula Mansa were called Yoni Temne. The precise origins of the Mane remain intensely debated; the Mane would subsume into the Temne and Bullom peoples, in addition to forming the Loko ethnic group. The earliest mention of Temne and other ethnic groups of Sierra Leone are in the records of Portuguese financed explorers such as those of Valentim Fernandes and Pacheco Pereira who were traveling along the coast of Africa in order to find a route to India and China. Pereira's memoirs written between 1505 and 1508 mention Temne words for gold and rice; the Portuguese records describe the culture and religion of the Temne people their ships met as communities living near water, worshippers of idols made of clay, men having their own gods while women their own.
The Portuguese citizen from Cape Verde named André Álvares de Almada wrote an extensive handbook on Sierra Leone in 1594, urging the Portuguese to colonise the region. This handbook described Temne society and culture in the 16th century; the text mentions villages, their courts of justice, lawyers who represented different parties while wearing "grotesque masks", with the chief presiding. Culprits convict
Jesse Louis Jackson Sr. is an American civil rights activist, Baptist minister, politician. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as a shadow U. S. Senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997, he is the founder of the organizations that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH. Former U. S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. is his eldest son. Jackson was the host of Both Sides with Jesse Jackson on CNN from 1992 to 2000. Jackson was born in Greenville, South Carolina, to Helen Burns, a 16-year-old high school student, her 33-year-old married neighbor, Noah Louis Robinson; the family has some Cherokee roots. Robinson was a former professional boxer, an employee of a textile brokerage and a well-known figure in the black community. One year after Jesse's birth, his mother married Charles Henry Jackson, a post office maintenance worker who adopted the boy. Jesse was given his stepfather's name in the adoption, but as he grew up, he maintained a close relationship with Robinson.
He considered both men to be his father. As a young child, Jackson was taunted by the other children regarding his out-of-wedlock birth, has said these experiences helped motivate him to succeed. Living under Jim Crow segregation laws, Jackson was taught to go to the back of the bus and use separate water fountains – practices he accepted until the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1955, he attended the racially segregated Sterling High School in Greenville, where he was elected student class president, finished tenth in his class, earned letters in baseball and basketball. Upon graduating from high school in 1959, he rejected a contract from a minor league professional baseball team so that he could attend the University of Illinois on a football scholarship. Following his second semester at the predominantly white University of Illinois, Jackson transferred to the North Carolina A&T, an black university located in Greensboro, North Carolina. There are differing accounts of the reasons behind this transfer.
Jackson has claimed that he changed schools because racial prejudice prevented him from playing quarterback and limited his participation on a competitive public-speaking team. Writing on ESPN.com in 2002, sociologist Harry Edwards noted that the University of Illinois had had a black quarterback, but noted that black athletes attending traditionally white colleges during the 1950s and 1960s encountered a "combination of culture shock and discrimination". Edwards suggested that Jackson had left the University of Illinois in 1960 because he had been placed on academic probation. However, the president of the University of Illinois reported in 1987 that Jackson's 1960 freshman year transcript was clean, said he would have been eligible to re-enroll at any time. While attending A&T, Jackson was elected student body president, he became active in local civil rights protests against segregated libraries and restaurants. He graduated with a B. S. in sociology in 1964 attended the Chicago Theological Seminary on a scholarship.
He dropped out in 1966, three classes short of earning his master's degree, to focus full-time on the Civil Rights Movement. He was ordained a minister in 1968, in 2000, was awarded his Master of Divinity Degree based on his previous credits earned, plus his life experience and subsequent work. While home from college, Jackson joined seven other African Americans on July 16, 1960 to participate in a sit-in at the Greenville Public Library in Greenville, South Carolina, which only allowed white people; the group was arrested for "disorderly conduct". Jackson's pastor paid their bond, the Greenville News said. DeeDee Wright, another member of the group said they wanted to be arrested "so it could be a test case.” The Greenville City Council closed both the branch black people used. The possibility of a lawsuit led to the reopening of both libraries September 19 the day after the News printed a letter written by Wright. Jackson has been known for commanding public attention since he first started working for Martin Luther King Jr.
In 1965, Jackson participated in the Selma to Montgomery marches organized by James Bevel and other civil rights leaders in Alabama. Impressed by Jackson's drive and organizational abilities, King soon began giving Jackson a role in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, though he was concerned about Jackson's apparent ambition and attention-seeking; when Jackson returned from Selma, he was charged with establishing a frontline office for the SCLC in Chicago. In 1966, King and Bevel selected Jackson to head the Chicago branch of the SCLC's economic arm, Operation Breadbasket and he was promoted to national director in 1967. Operation Breadbasket had been started by the Atlanta leadership of the SCLC as a job placement agency for blacks. Under Jackson's leadership, a key goal was to encourage massive boycotts by black consumers as a means to pressure white-owned businesses to hire blacks and to purchase goods and services from black-owned firms. T. R. M. Howard, a 1950s proponent of the consumer boycott tactic, soon became a major supporter of Jackson's efforts – donating and raising funds, introducing Jackson to prominent members of the black business community in Chicago.
Under Jackson's direction, Operation Breadbasket held popular weekly workshops on Chicago's South Side featuring white and black political and economic leaders, religious services complete with a jazz band and choir. Jackson became involved in SCLC leadership disputes following the assassination of King on April 4, 1968; when King was shot, Jackson was in the parking lot one floor below. Jackson told reporters he was the last p
Gnassingbé Eyadéma was the President of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005. He participated in two successful military coups, in January 1963 and January 1967, became President on April 14, 1967; as President, he created a political party, the Rally of the Togolese People, headed an anti-communist single-party regime until the early 1990s, when reforms leading to multiparty elections began. Although his rule was challenged by the events of the early 1990s, he consolidated power again and won multiparty presidential elections in 1993, 1998, 2003. At the time of his death, Eyadéma was the longest-serving ruler in Africa. According to a 2018 study, "Gnassingbé Eyadema's rule rested on repression, a bizarre leadership cult." Étienne Eyadéma Gnassingbé was born on December 26, 1935 in the northern quartiers of Pya, a village in the prefecture of Kozah in the Kara Region, to a peasant family of the Kabye ethnic group. According to Comi M. Toulabor, his official date of birth is "based on a fertile imagination" and it would be more accurate to say that he was born around 1930.
His mother was known as Maman N'Danida, or Maman N'Danidaha. In 1953, Eyadema joined the French army after attending primary school, where he was trained in weapon use and the art of war. Eyadema participated in the Algerian War. After nearly 10 years in the French army, Eyadema returned to Togo in 1962, he was a leader in the 1963 Togolese coup d'état against President Sylvanus Olympio, killed during the attack. He helped establish Nicolas Grunitzky as the new President of Togo. In 1967, Colonel Eyadema of the Togolese Army led a second military coup against Grunitzky. Eyadema installed himself as president on April 14, 1967, as well as Minister of National Defense, an office that he retained for 38 years. Three years after taking power, Eyadéma created the Rally of the Togolese People as the country's only legal party, he won an uncontested election in 1972. In 1979, the country adopted a new constitution; the RPT was entrenched as the only party. Under these provisions, Eyadéma was re-elected unopposed in 1979 and 1986.
During his rule he escaped several assassination attempts. After another unsuccessful assassination attempt by a bodyguard, he carried the bullet removed by the surgeon as an amulet. A national conference was held in August 1991, electing Joseph Kokou Koffigoh as Prime Minister and leaving Eyadéma as a ceremonial president. Although Eyadéma attempted to suspend the conference, surrounding the venue with soldiers, he subsequently accepted the outcome. Despite this, Eyadéma managed to remain in power with the backing of the army. In March 1993, an unsuccessful attack was made on the Tokoin military camp, where Eyadéma was living, he attempted to legitimize his rule with a multiparty presidential election in August 1993, boycotted by the opposition. Eyadéma won re-election in the June 1998 presidential election, defeating Gilchrist Olympio of the Union of the Forces of Change with 52.13% of the vote according to official results, amid allegations of fraud and accusations of the massacre of hundreds of government opponents.
The European Union suspended aid in 1993 in protest of alleged voting irregularities and human rights violations. In late December 2002, the Constitution was changed to remove term limits on the office of president. Presidents had been limited to two five-year terms, Eyadéma would have therefore been forced to step down after the 2003 election. With the removal of these limitations, Eyadéma was free to stand again and did so, winning the election on June 1 with 57.78% of the vote. He was sworn in for another term on June 20. Another constitutional change was to reduce the minimum age of the President to 35 years, rather than 45; as Eyadéma's son Faure Gnassingbé was 35, many observers assumed that he was opening the way for a dynastic succession should he die suddenly. Eyadéma constructed a large palace near his family home in Pya a few kilometers north of Lama-Kara, he was the chairman of the Organisation of African Unity from 2000 to 2001, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to mediate between the government and rebels of Ivory Coast in the First Ivorian Civil War, that began in that country in 2002.
The European Union sent a mission on June 1, 2004, to evaluate the state of democracy in Togo and to start a procedure of democratization of Togo. The expedition intended to open a dialogue between the opposition; the team was supposed to meet with many politicians from other parties than Eyadéma's party, Rally of the Togolese People. But because of the criteria imposed by the government, politicians such as Gilchrist Olympio, Yawovi Agboyibo, Professor Leopold Gnininvi boycotted the meeting; the European Union team cancelled the meeting since discussions with the government were impossible. The opposition party UFC wanted the release of 11 men held by the government; the European Union experts met each political figure ind
British military intervention in the Sierra Leone Civil War
The United Kingdom began a military intervention in Sierra Leone on 7 May 2000 under the codename Operation Palliser. Although small numbers of British personnel had been deployed Palliser was the first large-scale intervention by British forces in the Sierra Leone Civil War. In early May 2000, the Revolutionary United Front —one of the main parties to the civil war—advanced on the country's capital, prompting the British government to dispatch an "operational reconnaissance and liaison team" to prepare to evacuate foreign citizens. On 6 May, the RUF blocked the road connecting Freetown to Lungi; the next day, British soldiers began to secure the airport and other areas essential to an evacuation. The majority of those who wished to leave were evacuated within the first two days of the operation, but many chose to stay following the arrival of British forces. After the effective completion of the evacuation, the mandate of the British forces began to expand, they assisted with the evacuation of besieged peacekeepers—including several British ceasefire observers—and began to assist the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone and the Sierra Leone Army.
Despite the mission expansion, it was not until 17 May that British soldiers came into direct contact with the RUF. The rebels attacked a British position near Lungi airport, but were forced to retreat after a series of firefights. On the same day, the RUF's leader, Foday Sankoh, was captured by Sierra Leonean forces, leaving the RUF in disarray. After deciding that the RUF would not disarm voluntarily, the British began training the SLA for a confrontation. During the training mission, a patrol returning from a visit to Jordanian peacekeepers was taken captive by a militia group known as the West Side Boys. Negotiations achieved the release of five of the eleven soldiers, three weeks into the crisis, British special forces launched a mission codenamed Operation Barras, freeing the remaining six; the success of Operation Barras restored confidence in the British mission. The overall British operation was completed by September 2000; the RUF began to disarm after political pressure, economic sanctions, were exerted on Liberia—which had supported the RUF in exchange for conflict diamonds smuggled out of Sierra Leone.
The Sierra Leonean government signed a ceasefire with the RUF that obliged the latter to enter the Disarmament and Reintegration process. By September 2001, when the British training teams were replaced by an international force, the DDR process was complete. British forces continued to be involved in Sierra Leone by providing the largest contribution of personnel to the international training team and advising on a restructuring of Sierra Leone's armed forces. A small force was deployed to the area in 2003 to ensure stability while several indictments and arrests were made by the Special Court for Sierra Leone; the success of British operations in Sierra Leone vindicated several concepts, including the retention of high-readiness forces. The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was keen to see Western interventions in other conflicts, and—along with France—supported the creation of several European Union Battlegroups for the purpose; as it happened, political opposition and British commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq prevented further British operations in Africa.
Sierra Leone is a country in West Africa, close to the equator, with an area of 71,740 square kilometres —similar in size to South Carolina or Scotland. It is bordered to the west by the Atlantic Ocean; the country became a British colony in 1808, though British influence began in the late 18th century when former slaves were settled in the area that became known as Freetown, now the capital city. Freetown lies on a peninsula, is separated from the country's main airport, Lungi, by the estuary of the Sierra Leone River, several miles wide; the colony was granted independence from the United Kingdom in 1961 and Sir Milton Margai was appointed its first prime minister. He was replaced in 1962 by his brother, defeated by Siaka Stevens in the 1967 general election. Stevens was overthrown within hours by the commander of the army, but was reinstated after the commander was himself overthrown. Sierra Leone became a republic in 1971, Stevens was installed as its first president. In 1978, Sierra Leone formally became a one-party state and the All People's Congress became the only legal political party.
Stevens appointed Joseph Momoh as his successor. Momoh was accused of corruption and abuse of power, the Revolutionary United Front was formed in the decade with the aim of overthrowing him. Sponsored by Liberia, the RUF began attacking settlements along the border in 1991 and took control of the diamond mines, whose products they smuggled through Liberia and traded for weapons; the following years saw a series of coups and interventions by private military companies, the Economic Community of West African States, the United Nations, while a bloody civil war devastated the country. On 7 July 1999, the Lomé Peace Accord was signed. Among other provisions, the agreement mandated an immediate ceasefire between the main parties to the civil war and the disarmament of the Sierra Leone Army and the RUF, it gave the RUF status as a legitimate political party, a role in the Sierra Leone Government, four of the twenty-two seats in the cabinet. Foday Sankoh, leader of the RUF, was given responsibility for the diamond mines—an appointment much cri
Limba people (Sierra Leone)
The Limba people are the third largest ethnic group in Sierra Leone. They represent over 8% of Sierra Leone's total population; the Limba are believed to be the earliest indigenous people of Sierra Leone. They speak a distinctive language, unrelated to the other languages in Sierra Leone, they are found in the Northern Province in Bombali District and Kambia District. During Sierra Leone's colonial era thousands of Limbas migrated to the capital city of Freetown and its Western Area; as a result, a significant number of Limbas can be found in Freetown and its surrounding Western Area. During the 16th, 17th, 18th century, many Limba people were shipped to North America as slaves; the Limba are rice farmers and hunters who live in the savannah-woodland region in the Northern Province of Sierra Leone. They predominate in 7 of Sierra Leone's 149 rural chiefdoms, their community affairs are dominated by the local paramount chiefs. Members of the Limba tribe believe that they have always lived in Sierra Leone in the Wara Wara mountains and were the first rulers of the country.
It is believed by some historians. They were brilliant scholars and philosophers who brought their knowledge of agriculture and trade with them and with that built a society based on this sole ideal: If you work and respect the land properly you are worthy to enjoy the fruits of your labor. During the colonial era, many Limba people were captured and sold at Bunce Island as slaves to the Americas through the Atlantic slave trade. To escape this, many Limba people traveled to the capital city of Freetown and the Western area and as a result, most Limba are located in these places; the Limba consider themselves to be a mountain people and have at points in their history found themselves pushed into the mountains during the periods of Susu expansionism. They had to fight off incursions from the Fula and the Mandingo; the Limba take pride in their unique language which differs from the other languages spoken in Sierra Leone. As a result, Limbas strive to be articulate with their vocabulary as a way of sticking out among the rest.
They are rice farmers, palm wine brewers and stone builders. They have names similar to the Temne people, they have a past and current interest in politics, for example Siaka Stevens as the first president of Sierra Leone from 1971-1985, Ernest Bai Koroma as the current president of Sierra Leone from 2007, Christian Alusine Karamara-Taylor as a founding member of the All People's Congress and Paolo Conteh, the current defence minister and Eric Dura Sesay as the Bombali district chairman. According to folklore, Limbas make excellent political leaders because they are descendants of the original rulers of Sierra Leone; the Limba's main sport of interest is soccer, quite common amongst nations in West Africa. Some popular Limba soccer players are Saidu Tibati Kanu; the Limba have a spiritual home called Kakoia and they believe all Limbas return to the mountain through the town beyond a "door" through the rock. An ancient wooden figure discovered in a cave at Kakoia was made by the Limba people. Now in the British Museum, it may have represented an deity.
They have a folklore about spirits called Krifi but information about this is limited. The Limba in the southern province are influenced by Christianity. Portuguese Christian missionary efforts began before the Protestant Reformation but had no lasting effects on the Temne; the Protestant presence accompanied the founding of Freetown in the late eighteenth century. In the 1890s the Soudna Mission was the first American mission in the Temne area. Today, 65% of Limba are followers of Christianity; the Limba in the Northern Province are somewhat influenced by Islam. Muslim contacts go back several centuries, fifteenth-century Portuguese were cognizant of Muslim peoples. Early traders, holy men, warriors brought Islam into the Temne area from the north by the Susu and northeast by the Fula and Mandinka. Through the nineteenth century, as the volume of trade grew, Muslim influences increased. Although 30% of Limba have converted to Islam, they still practice their traditional religion, as well. Common Limba surnames include Conteh, Dumbuya, Samura, Turay, Thoronka, Mansaray and Kanu.
Almamy Suluku, powerful Limba ruler who maintained his independence as long as possible through brilliant political strategy during colonial era. Siaka Stevens, president of Sierra Leone from 1971-1985 Joseph Saidu Momoh, president of Sierra Leone from 1985-1992 Christian Alusine Kamara-Taylor, Sierra Leonean politician and one of the founding members * Johnny Paul Koroma, Head of State of Sierra Leone from May 1997 to February 1998 Ernest Bai Koroma,Current president of Sierra Leone from 2007-Present Brima Acha Kamara, the former Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police. Alfred Paolo Conteh, Current Sierra Leone's Minister of Defence John Sisay, Current Chief Executive Officer for Sierra Rutile Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara,Current Sierra Leone's Minister of Foreign Affairs Sanpha Bilo Kamara, Current Director of Prisons Department Eric Dura Sesay, Current Minister of State in the Office of the Vice President Dauda Sulaiman Kamara, current Sierra Leone's minister of Internal Affairs Mi
Charles Taylor (Liberian politician)
Charles McArthur Ghankay Taylor is a Liberian war criminal and former politician who served as the 22nd President of Liberia from 2 August 1997 until his resignation on 11 August 2003. Born in Arthington, Montserrado County, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley College in the United States before returning to Liberia to work in the government of Samuel Doe. After being removed for embezzlement, he arrived in Libya, where he was trained as a guerrilla fighter, he returned to Liberia in 1989 as the head of a Libyan-backed rebel group, the National Patriotic Front of Liberia, to overthrow the Doe government, initiating the First Liberian Civil War. Following Doe's execution, Taylor gained control of a large portion of the country and became one of the most prominent warlords in Africa. Following a peace deal that ended the war, Taylor was elected president in the 1997 general election. During his term of office, Taylor was accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity as a result of his involvement in the Sierra Leone Civil War.
Domestically, opposition to his government grew, culminating in the outbreak of the Second Liberian Civil War. By 2003, Taylor had lost control of much of the countryside and was formally indicted by the Special Court for Sierra Leone; that year, he resigned, as a result of growing international pressure, went into exile in Nigeria. In 2006, the newly elected President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, formally requested his extradition, he was detained by UN authorities in Sierra Leone and at the Penitentiary Institution Haaglanden in The Hague, awaiting trial by the Special Court. He was found guilty in April 2012 of all eleven charges levied by the Special Court, including terror and rape. In May 2012, Taylor was sentenced to 50 years in prison. Reading the sentencing statement, Presiding Judge Richard Lussick said: "The accused has been found responsible for aiding and abetting as well as planning some of the most heinous and brutal crimes in recorded human history." Taylor was born in Arthington, a town near the capital of Monrovia, Liberia, on 28 January 1948, to Nelson and Bernice Taylor.
He attended The Newman School in his early years. He took the name "Ghankay" on to please and gain favor with indigenous Liberians, his mother was a member of the Gola ethnic group, part of the 95% of the people who are indigenous to Liberia. According to most reports, his father was an Americo-Liberian who worked as a teacher, sharecropper and judge. In 1977, Taylor earned a degree at Bentley University in Waltham, United States. Taylor supported the 12 April 1980 coup led by Samuel Doe, which resulted in the murder of President William R. Tolbert Jr. and seizure of power by Doe. Taylor was appointed to the position of Director General of the General Services Agency, a position that left him in charge of purchasing for the Liberian government, he was sacked in May 1983 for embezzling an estimated $1,000,000 and sending the funds to an American bank account. Taylor fled to the United States but was arrested on 21 May 1984 by two US Deputy Marshals in Somerville, Massachusetts, on a warrant for extradition to face charges of embezzling $1 million of government funds while the GSA boss.
Citing a fear of assassination by Liberian agents, Taylor fought extradition from the safety of jail with the help of a legal team led by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark. His lawyers' primary arguments before US District Magistrate Robert J. DeGiacomo stated that his alleged acts of lawbreaking in Liberia were political rather than criminal in nature and that the extradition treaty between the two republics had lapsed. In response, Assistant United States Attorney Richard G. Stearns argued that Liberia wished to charge Taylor with theft in office, rather than with political crimes, that any international political decisions that could hold up the trial should be made only by the US State Department. Stearns' arguments were reinforced by Liberian Justice Minister Jenkins Scott, who flew to the United States to testify at the proceedings. While awaiting the conclusion of the extradition hearing, Taylor was detained in the Plymouth County Correctional Facility. On 15 September 1985, four other inmates escaped from the jail.
Two days The Boston Globe reported that they sawed through a bar covering a window in a dormitory room, after which they lowered themselves 20 feet on knotted sheets and escaped into nearby woods by climbing a fence. Shortly thereafter and two other escapees were met at nearby Jordan Hospital by Taylor's wife and Taylor's sister-in-law, Lucia Holmes Toweh, they drove a getaway car to Staten Island in New York. All four of Taylor's fellow escapees, as well as Enid and Toweh, were apprehended. In July 2009, Taylor claimed at his trial that US CIA agents had helped him escape from the maximum security prison in Boston in 1985; this was during his trial by the UN-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague. The US Defense Intelligence Agency confirmed that Taylor first started working with US intelligence in the 1980s but refused to give details of his role or US actions, citing national security. Taylor escaped undetected from the United States and shortly thereafter it is believed that he reached Libya.
He took part in guerrilla training under Muammar Gaddafi, becoming Gaddafi's protégé. He left Libya and traveled to the Ivory Coast, where he founded the National Patriotic Front of Liberia. In December 1989, Taylor launched a Gaddafi-funded armed uprising from the Ivory Coast into Liberia to overthrow the Doe regime, leading to the First Liberian Civil War. By 1990, his forces soon controlled most of th
Sierra Leone Civil War
The Sierra Leone Civil War began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front, with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia, intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, left over 50,000 dead. During the first year of the war, the RUF took control of large swathes of territory in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, which were rich in alluvial diamonds; the government's ineffective response to the RUF, the disruption in government diamond production, precipitated a military coup d'état in April 1992 by the National Provisional Ruling Council. By the end of 1993, the Sierra Leone Army had succeeded in pushing the RUF rebels back to the Liberian border, but the RUF recovered and fighting continued. In March 1995, Executive Outcomes, a South Africa-based private military company, was hired to repel the RUF. Sierra Leone installed an elected civilian government in March 1996, the retreating RUF signed the Abidjan Peace Accord.
Under UN pressure, the government terminated its contract with EO before the accord could be implemented, hostilities recommenced. In May 1997 a group of disgruntled SLA officers staged a coup and established the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council as the new government of Sierra Leone; the RUF joined with the AFRC to capture Freetown with little resistance. The new government, led by Johnny Paul Koroma, declared the war over. A wave of looting and murder followed the announcement. Reflecting international dismay at the overturning of the civilian government, ECOMOG forces intervened and retook Freetown on behalf of the government, but they found the outlying regions more difficult to pacify. In January 1999, world leaders intervened diplomatically to promote negotiations between the RUF and the government; the Lome Peace Accord, signed on 27 March 1999, was the result. Lome gave Foday Sankoh, the commander of the RUF, the vice presidency and control of Sierra Leone's diamond mines in return for a cessation of the fighting and the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force to monitor the disarmament process.
RUF compliance with the disarmament process was inconsistent and sluggish, by May 2000, the rebels were advancing again upon Freetown. As the UN mission began to fail the United Kingdom declared its intention to intervene in the former colony and Commonwealth member in an attempt to support the weak government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. With help from a renewed UN mandate and Guinean air support, the British Operation Palliser defeated the RUF, taking control of Freetown. On 18 January 2002, President Kabbah declared the Sierra Leone Civil War over. In 1961, Sierra Leone gained its independence from the United Kingdom. In the years following the death of Sierra Leone’s first prime minister Sir Milton Margai in 1964, politics in the country were characterized by corruption and electoral violence that led to a weak civil society, the collapse of the education system, and, by 1991, an entire generation of dissatisfied youth were attracted to the rebellious message of the Revolutionary United Front and joined the organization.
Albert Margai, unlike his half-brother Milton, did not see the state as a steward of the public, but instead as a tool for personal gain and self-aggrandizement and used the military to suppress multi-party elections that threatened to end his rule. When Siaka Stevens entered politics in 1968, Sierra Leone was a constitutional democracy; when he stepped down, seventeen years Sierra Leone was a one-party state. Stevens' rule, sometimes called “the 17 year plague of locusts,” saw the destruction and perversion of every state institution. Parliament was undermined, judges were bribed, the treasury was bankrupted to finance pet projects that supported insiders; when Stevens failed to co-opt his opponents, he resorted to state sanctioned executions or exile. In 1985, Stevens stepped down, handed the nation’s preeminent position to Major General Joseph Momoh, a notoriously inept leader who maintained the status quo. During his seven-year tenure, Momoh welcomed the spread of unchecked corruption and complete economic collapse.
With the state unable to pay its civil servants, those desperate enough ransacked and looted government offices and property. In Freetown, important commodities like gasoline were scarce, but the government hit rock bottom when it could no longer pay schoolteachers and the education system collapsed. Since only wealthy families could afford to pay private tutors, the bulk of Sierra Leone’s youth during the late 1980s roamed the streets aimlessly; as infrastructure and public ethics deteriorated in tandem, much of Sierra Leone’s professional class fled the country. By 1991, Sierra Leone was ranked as one of the poorest countries in the world though it benefited from ample natural resources including diamonds, bauxite, iron ore, fish and cocoa; the Eastern and Southern districts in Sierra Leone, most notably the Kono and Kenema districts, are rich in alluvial diamonds, more are accessible by anyone with a shovel and transport. Since their discovery in the early 1930s, diamonds have been critical in financing the continuing pattern of corruption and personal aggrandizement at the expense of needed public services and infrastructure.
The phenomenon whereby countries with an abundance of natural resources tend to nonetheless be characterized by lower levels of economic development is known as the "resource curse". The presence of diamonds in Sierra Leone led to the civil war in several ways. First, the unequal benefits resulting from diamond