In December 1992


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    Join date : 2010-09-22

    In December 1992

    Post by kosovohp on Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:39 am

    In December 1992, an alleged coup attempt against the NPRC administration of Strasser, aimed at freeing the detained Colonel Yayah Kanu, was foiled. Sgt. Lamin Bangura (an ethnic Temne) and some junior army officers of the Tiger Battalion were identified as being behind the alleged plot. It led to the execution of seventeen Sierra Leone soldiers, including Sgt. Bangura and Yayah Kanu, and some senior members of the overthrown APC government who had been in detention at the Pa Demba Road prison. These included the notorious Inspector General of Police James Bambay Kamara, key former APC ministers, senior party members and thugs. By mid 1993 Captain Strasser announced a plan to hand over the government to civilian rule by 1996. Dr. James Jonah, who was by then Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, was appointed by the NPRC Junta as the chairman of the new Interim National Electoral Commission (INEC), which was in charge of the demarcation of electoral boundaries and voter registration. In 1994 the NPRC junta proposed a change in the age restriction in the 1991 Sierra Leone constitution which stated only Sierra Leoneans over the age of 40 are eligible for the presidency, thus excluding Strasser and others in the NPRC.

    The NPRC proved to be nearly as ineffectual as the Momoh-led APC government in repelling the RUF. More and more of the country fell to RUF fighters, and by 1995 they held much of the diamond-rich Eastern Province and were at the edge of Freetown. In response, the NPRC hired several hundred mercenaries from the private firm Executive Outcomes (see www.petercusters.nl/file/60). Within a month they had driven RUF fighters back to enclaves along Sierra Leone’s borders, and cleared the RUF from the Kono diamond producing areas of Sierra Leone. However, Captains Tom Nyuma (Secretary of State East) and Komba Mondeh (Secretary of State Defence), who were regarded outside Freetown as the only "fighters" in the NPRC who dared to lead the troops to attack RUF strongholds in the East and South, were widely credited with these successes against the RUF. During this time corruption had erupted within the senior ranks of both the NPRC and the military, and the junta had become divided between SAJ Musa, on the one side, against Nyuma and Mondeh, on the other. SAJ Musa had become very popular in Freetown for fighting grafts and enforcing strict discipline in the public service and his last-Saturday-of-the-month city cleaning exercises. Nyuma, nicknamed "The Ranger", was seen across the country as the daredevil of the NPRC and the "protector of the East." There was great suspicion among the SCS members that SAJ Musa was planning a coup to topple his friend Strasser, whom he accused of being subservient to the wishes of Nyuma and Mondeh. On 5 Jul 1995, under pressure from Nyuma, Captain Strasser dismissed SAJ Musa as deputy chairman of the NPRC and appointed an ally of Tom Nyuma, the Secretary of State for Information and Broadcasting Captain Julius Maada Bio, to the position. Musa was arrested by soldiers led by Nyuma's men, and was briefly placed under house arrest in Freetown before being sent on to exile in the UK. Senior NPRC members, including Bio (who by now had promoted himself to Brigadier), Nyuma and Mondeh (both promoted to Colonel), were becoming increasingly unhappy with (still-Captain) Strasser's handling of the preparation for the pending elections, the peace negotiation with the RUF, and the transition to democratic civilian rule.

    In January 1996, after nearly four years in power, Captain V.E.M. Strasser was ousted in a bloodless "palace" coup led by his NPRC deputy Brigadier General Julius Maada Bio with the support of several senior NPRC members including both Tom Nyuma and Komba Mondeh. Bio claimed that Strasser was attempting to unilaterally amend the age restriction in the constitution in order to perpetuate his hold on power.

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