UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE (UNAMSIL)

UNITED NATIONS MISSION IN SIERRA LEONE (UNAMSIL)

Background to the Mission

In 1991, a Sierra Leone rebel army known by the name ‘Revolutionary United Front (RUF) initiated an attempt to overthrow the Sierra Leone government that was led by Joseph Momoh. This rebel army was supported by the Liberian president (Charles Taylor) Special Forces (National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). The intervention in Sierra Leone led to a civil war that enveloped the country for 11 years, where more than 50000 people were feared to have succumbed[1]. The war began in 1991, the year in which the RUF took control of great territories in the Sierra Leone’s Southern and Eastern regions. These regions were mainly targeted due to their rich diamond deposits.

The government was unable to effectively respond to the RUF invasion and attack on civilians which precipitated a 1992 military coup d’état of the Sierra Leone government by the ‘National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).’ By December 1993, the Sierra Leone Army (SLA) had managed to hold and push back the RUF rebels to the Liberian border but with support from the Liberian president special forces they recovered and continued with fighting. In 1995, the Sierra Leone military government hired a private military company based in South Africa called Executive Outcomes (EO) to repel the RUF.

The civil government was installed in 1996 with the RUF forced to sign the Abidjan Peace Accord, which was meant to end their hostilities. UN pressurized the Sierra Leone government to terminate its contract with EO, which it deed in 1996. The following year, 1997, the unsatisfied SLA staged a coup which led to the establishment of the armed forces government, which joined hand with RUF to capture the capital of Sierra Leone free town. Under this circumstance, the ECOWAS military (ECOMOG) intervened and retook Freetown, but found other regions challenging to pacify, and many regions in the country were overtaken by a wave of rape, looting and murder. It is under this circumstance that the UNAMSIL was established by the UN[2].

Mandate of the Mission

The UNAMSIL was created to implement the ‘Lomé Peace Accord’ which was an agreement that whose objective was to bring to an end to the Sierra Leone civil war. The primary mandate of the UNAMSIL was to protect the civilians who were under the immense threat of physical violence. In 1999 the Security Council Resolution 1270  created the UNAMSIL operations with its mandate including: cooperating with the Sierra Leone government as well as other parties to implement peace agreement, help the government in demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration plan, ensure freedom of movement and security of UN personals, to monitor the ceasefire agreement, facilitate the hu

[1] Utas, Mats, and Magnus Jörgel. “The West Side Boys: military navigation in the Sierra Leone civil war.” The Journal of Modern African Studies 46, no. 03 (2008): 487-511.

[2] Ibid 1…………………..

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