Sierra Leone. According to countryaah, Freetown is the capital and one of the major cities within the country of Sierra Leone. The last approximately 2,000 UNAMSIL peacekeeping troops left Sierra Leone in December. On 31 August 2006, the UN Security Council decided to replace UNAMSIL with a civilian operation called the United Nations Integrated Office for Sierra Leone (UNIOSL). It is tasked with: help the government to strengthen the protection of human rights, increase transparency in the work of the authorities and prepare for honest elections in 2007.
Prior to UNAMSIL’s retreat, unrest in parts of civil society increased, where the government is not considered to live up to the obligations imposed upon it after the outside world’s help to put an end to the civil war. Public movements and human rights groups criticized the government for not implementing the recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that, among other things, to pay damages to the victims of the war and to strengthen the legal community. There was also a concern about an economic downturn when the foreign soldiers disappeared.
Nor was the outside world considered to live up to its commitments. The UN-backed Special War Crimes Court did not receive the appropriations it was deemed necessary to carry out all the trials against those responsible for the abuses during the war. The failure to extradite Liberia’s former President Charles Taylor from Nigeria was also considered a serious setback. Taylor is accused of having partially triggered and subsequently sparked the civil war.
Ex-president’s supporters raise roadblocks
Supporters of Ernest Bai Koroma travel roadblocks Makeni to try to stop investigators from entering the northern city to interrogate the former president on corruption charges (see September 2020). Koroma says, via Twitter, that he wants the interrogation to take place, but it is unclear whether it could have happened.
Sierra Leone’s schools reopen
Sierra Leone’s schools are formally reopening after being closed since March due to the corona pandemic. Mouth protection is mandatory and all children who feel ill are asked to stay at home. The schools have also displayed buckets of water and also provide the students with soap. On the first day of school, however, there were few students on site in the schools visited by the news agency AFP. Sierra Leone has had nearly 2,300 confirmed cases of covid-19 and 72 people have died from the disease.
Investigation accuses ex-president of widespread corruption
President Julius Maada Bio presents the results of the year-long investigation, led by foreign judges, of corruption suspicions against his representative on the presidency Ernest Bai Koroma and his government. According to Maada Bio, tens of millions have been embezzled, money that he now promises to demand back from those who are singled out. Koroma’s administration was in power between 2007 and 2018. At the Ministry of Education, $ 23 million must have been paid out without saying anything about where the money went. The Ministry of Youth Affairs is said to have bought agricultural equipment for 950,000 dollars, but there are no receipts. The inquiry points to similar misconduct in other ministries, but also former heads of state-owned companies and people from the banking world and the business community are named. The former president and a number of former high-ranking officials were subsequently banned from traveling. Koroma later denies the allegations, which he describes as a political witch-hunt.
RUF leaders are released prematurely
A former leader of the rebel movement RUF, Augustine Gbao, is to be released prematurely from prison after serving 17 years of a 25-year prison sentence for, among other things, terrorism, murder, rape and sexual slavery during the civil war between 1991 and 2001. The release is conditional and before he is released, he must undergo a training program so that he can take responsibility for the abuses he has committed and the damage they have done. He will serve the remainder of the sentence in his hometown of Blama in the Eastern Province.