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Vol 43 No 7

Published 5th April 2002

Sierra Leone

Whose best friend?

The slaughter in Sierra Leone was mainly about resources and most people's lack of them. For decades, the Freetown elite and its foreign friends kept the spoils of the diamond business; for most of the past decade, the Revolutionary United Front controlled the diamond fields of the east, matching its Freetown predecessors in corruption and brutality. In February, the RUF was driven from the diamond fields and the chaos has widened as RUF-sponsored miners are joined by others working for politicians, generals and traditional rulers. Friendly governments want President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah to get the business under control, to stop other rebel groups (and perhaps terrorists) exploiting the trade to raise and transfer funds.

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