Return of democracy and civil war


    Posts : 226
    Join date : 2010-09-22

    Return of democracy and civil war

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

    Bio reinstated the Constitution and called for general elections. In the second round of presidential elections in early 1996, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, an ethnic Mandingo and the candidate of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), won 59% of the vote, over John Karefa-Smart, an ethnic Sherbro and the candidate of the United National People's Party (UNPP) who won 41%. Bio fulfilled his promise of a return to civilian rule, and handed power to Kabbah. President Tejan Kabbah's SLPP party also won a majority of the seats in Parliament.

    For years Sierra Leonean soldiers in the lower ranks were not paid a good salary and they were denied privileges and benefits. Soldiers were killed in action and no provision was made for their families. Major Johnny Paul Koroma, an army officer who hailed from the Limba ethnic group, was allegedly involved in an attempt to overthrow the government of president Kabbah. He was arrested, tried, convicted, and imprisoned at Freetown's Pademba Road Prison. On May 25, 1997, a group of seventeen junior army officers, loyal to Major Koroma, formed the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) led by Corporal Tamba Gborie and Sergent Alex Tamba Brima, both ethnic Kono. They launched a military coup which sent President Kabbah into exile in Guinea.[33] Corporal Tamba Gborie quickly went to the SLBS FM 99.9 headquarters in Freetown to announce the coup and to alert all soldiers to report for guard duty. The AFRC released Koroma from prison and installed him as their chairman and Head of State, with Corporal Tamba Gborie as deputy in command of the AFRC. Koroma suspended the constitution, banned demonstrations, shut down all private radio stations in the country and invited the RUF to join the new junta government, with its leader Foday Sankoh as the Vice-Chairman of the new AFRC-RUF coalition junta government. Within days, Freetown was overwhelmed by the presence of the RUF combatants who came to the city in their thousands. The Kamajors, a group of traditional fighters mostly from the Mende ethnic group under the command of deputy Defense Minister Samuel Hinga Norman, remained loyal to President Kabbah. The Kamajors defended Bo, the country's second largest city, from the Junter and continue their attack against the AFRC and RUF in south-eastern Sierra Leone

    After 10 months in office, the junta was ousted by the Nigeria-led ECOMOG forces, and the democratically elected government of president Kabbah was reinstated in March 1998. Hundreds of civilians who had been accused of helping the AFRC government were illegally detained. Courts-martial were held for soldiers accused of assisting the AFRC government. Twenty-four of these were found guilty and were executed without appeal in October 1998. On January 6, 1999, AFRC made another unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the government, killing an estimated 3,000 people, raping women and girls, abducting and subsequently conscripting children, amputating limbs, and destroying much of the property in and around Freetown.

    In October, the United Nations agreed to send peacekeepers to help restore order and disarm the rebels. The first of the 6,000-member force began arriving in December, and the UN Security Council voted in February 2000 to increase the force to 11,000, and later to 13,000. But in May, when nearly all Nigerian forces had left and UN forces were trying to disarm the RUF in eastern Sierra Leone, Sankoh's forces clashed with the UN troops, and some 500 peacekeepers were taken hostage as the peace accord effectively collapsed. The hostage crisis resulted in more fighting between the RUF and the government.

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