Sierra Leone: May 5, 2000


Britain has agreed to send a team of military advisors to Sierra Leone to determine what measures can be taken to enhance the effectiveness of UNAMSIL peacekeepers. Meanwhile, it turns out that only four, not seven, UN peacekeepers were killed by RUF rebels. But over 300 UN peacekeepers and staff have been captured and disarmed by RUF. Many were later released, some minus their uniforms. The rebels have also taken 13 M-113 APCs from Zambian members of UNAMSIL. Apparently, the fierce reputation of the RUF has demoralized the Zambian, Nigerian and Kenyan peacekeepers, causing them to surrender readily when confronted by the RUF. The rebels are determined to hold on to their diamond mining areas and are demanding higher cash compensation for handing over their weapons. Western nations have so far refused to consider sending in combat troops to stiffen  UNAMSIL's resolve. Western embassies and UN organizations are preparing to evacuate their personnel. This might bring in US Marines, at least temporarily, to protect the evacuation. Local politicians are bringing diplomatic pressure on the RUF leadership to comply with the agreement that ended the civil war. The problems in Sierra Leone are causing UN members to reconsider involvement in a similar operation proposed for the Congolese civil war.  


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