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Vol 38 No 15

Published 18th July 1997

Sierra Leone

Putschists v. putschists

Under growing military pressure, Koroma still hopes to stop Kabbah's restoration

Almost two months after seizing power (AC Vol 38 No 12), Major Johnny Paul Koroma's regime is consolidating and digging in for a lengthy military confrontation with Nigerian-led forces. On present form, the regime and its People's Army – an amalgamation of the old Sierra Leone Army and the rebel Revolutionary United Front – could face down the Nigerian troops for weeks if not months. In the longer term, the maritime embargo which has cut off food and fuel supplies, combined with the exodus of tens of thousands of professional people, is likely to drag the capital to a grinding halt and force the regime to negotiate more seriously with governments in the region. Whether Koroma's regime gives way as a result of the embargo or of splits in its own ranks, it's improbable that there will be a wholesale restoration of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and his Sierra Leone People's Party government. What is more likely is a negotiated return to civilian rule.

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