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01 Jan 2001 description

A civil war has been going on in Sierra Leone since 1991. A war triggered off by the economic interests in the rich diamond mines in the northern part of the country. In order to destabilise what they consider a corrupt government and in order to get control of the mines, the rebels, led by Foday Sankoh, carry brutal onslaughts on villages, plundering them, reducing their children to slavery or forcing them to become soldiers. The difficult and fragile peace process which has started in July 1999, is leading to the liberation of hundreds of these child-slaves/soldiers.

01 Jan 2001 description

Kidnapped: They have been captivated during the several attacks on the villages launched by the rebels throughout the war started in 1991. Attacks made in order to destabilise the government and to punish the civilians whose only alleged guilt had been not to revolt against what the rebels considered a corrupt government. Onslaughts went hand in hand with the worst atrocities (houses were looted and burnt, people mutilated, killed, raped), and torn families apart. The rebels kidnapped thousands of children, maybe 10.000 since the beginning of the war.