Sierra Leone: Coup Rumors


January 22, 2006: Although 47,000 rifles and pistols were collected by 2002, there are still several thousand weapons out there. There is a growing crime problem involving armed gangs, and there are rumors of a military coup. Current, and former soldiers have disputes, usually involving money, with the government. There is not a lot of cash available to deal with all of this.

The economy is still a mess, with foreign investors reluctant to move in, given the history of the region.

January 1 9, 2006: China has agreed to supply patrol boats for the coast guard, and train Sierra Leone personnel to use the boats. A coast guard is needed, in order to enforce fishing regulations off shore. Right now, large fishing boats come in from all over the world and plunder the fish stocks off the coast. The area will be fished out if something is not done soon.

January 6, 2006: A company of Irish peacekeepers in neighboring Liberia, are on alert for duty in Sierra Leone if there is a problem at war crimes trials there.

January 5, 2006: In a hospital equipped by the UN, the Sierra Leone doctors have decided to loot the medical equipment. This was the result of a dispute among the doctors over gifts given by UN personnel to one doctor. The effectiveness of the hospital has been ruined, and this self-destructive behavior is typical of the attitudes that causes one civil war after another in the region.

December 31, 2005: The UN has ended its six year peacekeeping mission. With 17,500 peacekeepers, it was the largest such UN mission ever. Despite the large number of peacekeepers, it took a battalion of British commandoes to shut down rebel groups that would not surrender. Some 70,000 gunmen have since been disarmed. Many aid projects continue, but the Sierra Leone government is now running things.

December 21, 2005: The army has dismissed 73 officers, as part of a reorganization that will result in a new army of 10,000 troops (and 930 civilians) by next year.


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