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Vol 40 No 16

Published 6th August 1999

Sierra Leone

Problematic peace

Charles Taylor's support is critical to end the war – the other problem is lack of finance

As battle-hardened rebels saunter into Freetown, guns slung over their shoulders, Sierra Leoneans are arguing about the price of their hoped for peace. A month after the 7 July peace agreement in Lome, the ceasefire is more or less holding. Many are sceptical, though, about the next stage. This is when the Revolutionary United Front leader, Corporal Foday Sankoh, and his allies are to arrive in Freetown to take up government jobs alongside President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and the RUF soldiers have to hand over their guns to the international peacekeepers. Without a properly financed rehabilitation programme for the ex-fighters or a reconstruction fund for the beleaguered civilians, the chances of the peace holding in the longer term look slim. So far, international support is only trickling through.

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