Sierra Leone: May 10, 2000


  The UN has allowed members of the Sierra Leone Army (SLA), which had previously surrendered their weapons, to rearm themselves. The SLA promptly went back to fighting with the RUF outside the capital.  The US said it was willing to provide logistical help to UNAMSIL, but no troops. Canada has sent twenty peacekeepers. Russia is sending four helicopters and 106 troops to operate them. This would mainly be using air transport and would be essential if the UN were to wage an aggressive military campaign against the RUF rebels. The US is also trying to get the west African nations that occupied the nation during the civil war (and helped end it), especially Nigeria, to send their troops back in. Britain now has 700 paratroopers in the country. The UN has vowed to stay in Sierra Leone until peace is achieved. Meanwhile, RUF rebels advanced on the capital, encountering resistance from UN and SLA troops some 25 kilometers outside the capital. There was about an hour of loud fighting, whereupon both sides retired to consider their options. The rebels are not likely to give up easily, as UN troops were moving into the diamond producing areas that RUF controls. The diamonds are said to produce some $200 million dollars a year for the RUF to play with. Something worth fighting for. 


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