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Published 15th May 1998

Vol 39 No 10

Sierra Leone

The Freetown fall-out

Politicians, civil servants and security men slug it out in a Whitehall row as the desperate plight of Sierra Leone comes a poor second

Bafflement and disgust are the main reactions in Freetown to the row that has blown up in Britain about President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah's hiring of London-based security outfit Sandline International in his efforts to topple Major Johnny Paul Koroma&'s military junta.Freetown's Minister of Information Dr. Julius Spencer told Africa Confidential that British press coverage had missed two critical points: the massive unpopularity and brutality of the Koroma junta and the minimal role Sandline played in its overthrow. Both Spencer and Finance Minister James Jonah insisted the dominant role in ousting Koroma had been played by the mainly Nigerian West African Peace-keeping Force (Ecomog) and the local Kamajor militias.

Lines in the sand

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The Sierra Leone imbroglio casts more light on the web of security companies and mining houses associated with Sandline International and Executive Outcomes. It has focused attenti...

Peace means war

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The government's latest political weapon is the referendum but it's still fighting the war

As the world briefly noticed the famine in southern Sudan, President Omer Hassan Ahmed el Beshir presented 5,000 tonnes of grain - to Niger. On 6 May, he told visiting President Ib...

Counting allies

President Mugabe's toughest opponents are not politicians but they know about politics

When January's riots followed December's peaceful demonstrations, Zimbabweans started to say that President Robert Mugabe was finished. He came through, not because anything had ch...

Oil-rich, and poor

Luanda's fabulous petroleum prospects are doing little to help the devastated economy

Angola is Africa's hottest oil territory. International oil companies line up for exploration and exploitation rights; within a decade, production may match Nigeria's staggering tw...

Talking drums

Everyone's time and patience is running out - the government's, UNITA's - and the UN's

At first glance, Angola looks on the brink of peace again. Jonas Savimbi'sUnião para a Independência Total de Angola has formally disarmed; it has handed back to state...


Short leash

Zambia's Consultative Group meeting ended on a note of compromise in Paris on 13 May. There were aid pledges for 1998 of US$530 million but with increased demands for human rights ...


President Laurent Kabila's government has narrowly escaped condemnation by the ACP- EU Joint Assembly, which met in Mauritius on 21-24 April. Africa-Caribbean-Pacific/ European Uni...

Asking A.T.T.

As elections approach, Nigerian diplomat Olu Adeneji is settling in as United Nations Special Representative and head of the 1,350-man Mission des Nations Unies en Républiqu...