Stories written by Lansana Fofana

Patients in a Freetown hospital: civil society is demanding an end to conditionalities on aid needed to build badly-needed social infrastructure. Credit:  Manoocher Degati/IRIN

SIERRA LEONE: Building Peace

Sierra Leone has been a major recipient of foreign aid since the end of a devastating 11-year civil war in 2002. But government, donors and citizens are all questioning how effectively this aid is being used.

RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: Activists Will Accept Only Full Abolition

Sierra Leonean rights activists have served notice on the government that they will campaign against any attempt to retain the death penalty in the new constitution and insist the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are fully adopted.

SIERRA LEONE: Activists Cry Foul Over Mining Policy

In December 2007, unrest broke out in the diamond mining region of Kono in the east, between kimberlite mining corporation Koidu Holdings and locals in the lease area. The company had promised to relocate hundreds of community residents to make way for its mining operation but the slow pace of implementation of this pledge, coupled with the repeated blasts of dynamite in underground mining sites set the company and its hosts on a collision course.

SIERRA LEONE: Former Rebel Commanders Awaiting Judgment

Final arguments in the lengthy trial of three former commanders of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) have ended in Freetown, making way for judgment which is expected by the end of this year.

SIERRA LEONE: Tighten Security to Curb Drug Trafficking

Nineteen suspects, including eight men from Colombia and Venezuela, have appeared before a Freetown High Court on charges of smuggling illegal drugs into the country.

Advocates are calling for a return to a proportional representation system which guarantees places for women in party lists. Credit:  Tugela Ridley/IRIN

SIERRA LEONE: Activists Angered By Poor Results for Women

Sierra Leone’s women’s advocacy group "50/50" has expressed disappointment at the poor showing of women in the July 5 local council elections.

WEST AFRICA: Mixed Feelings Over Charles Taylor’s Transfer to The Hague

Former Liberian head of state Charles Taylor was flown to The Hague, Tuesday, to face trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity associated with the conflict that took place in Sierra Leone during the 1990s.

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY: Sierra Leone’s Libel Laws Under Fire

On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day (May 3), Sierra Leonean journalists aren't so much celebrating media freedom as girding themselves for a legal battle over press rights.

SIERRA LEONE: Female Circumcision Used As a Weapon of Political Campaign

‘'It is not an easy job. Sometimes I get booed and taunted. At crucial moments I get chased out of places where the practice is much more prevalent,'' complains 34-year-old Ann Marie Caulker, who is championing the campaign to end the age-old tradition of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: Zero Tolerance for UN Troops Involved In Sexual Abuse

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone may be preparing for the final pullout of its peacekeeping force by the end of the year, but it seems, the mission wants to leave behind a clean record, in so far as sexual exploitation and abuse is concerned.

RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: War Crimes Court Opening Up Old Wounds

There has been growing anxiety in Sierra Leone about the commencement of the trials of three high-profile war crimes indictees from the former military junta, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC), which seized power in a coup in 1997.


During Sierra Leone's brutal civil conflict of the 1990s, rape was systematically used as a weapon of war. The conclusion of the conflict in January 2002 did not spell an end to this crime, however. In fact, some allege that rapes are becoming more frequent in Sierra Leone.

SIERRA LEONE: Doubts About the Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Institutions

Corruption. The word has a particular resonance in Sierra Leone, where endemic graft helped lay the ground for a brutal civil war that raged for much of the 1990s.

ECONOMY-SIERRA LEONE: Fishing Sector Reaps Profits – But at a Cost

It’s another case of natural resources proving to be a mixed blessing. While Sierra Leone’s government gratefully accepts revenues generated by the country’s fishing industry, illegal trawling by foreign vessels is providing cause for concern.

RIGHTS-SIERRA LEONE: Police Dismantle Child Trafficking Syndicate

The Sierra Leonean police have busted what they refer to as the biggest child trafficking syndicate in the West African nation since the end of the civil conflict three years ago.

ECONOMY-SIERRA LEONE: Another Round of Mining Difficulties?

Say the word "mining" in the context of Sierra Leone, and thoughts instantly turn to the country's ruinous trade in conflict diamonds. However, the mining of another mineral - rutile - is also the source of some controversy in this West African state.

DEVELOPMENT-SIERRA LEONE: Freetown Shackled by Garbage

Winstanley Johnson will probably go down in history books for the fact that earlier this year, he became the first elected mayor in 30 years of Sierra Leone's capital - Freetown. As he picks his way around the rubbish heaps in the city, however, there may well be times when he wonders whether it's worth having this honour.

POLITICS: Five Years On, Guinea Still Occupies Sierra Leone’s Territory

Angry Sierra Leoneans are demanding that their government ask Guinea to withdraw its troops from their territory which they occupied five years ago.

HEALTH-SIERRA LEONE: Drug Abuse a Threat to Enduring Peace

The guns may have fallen silent, the killings stopped and the terrorising of civilians ended. But, the problem of drug use is still a reality in Sierra Leone, opening a new battlefront for the authorities of this impoverished country.

POLITICS-SIERRA LEONE: “Dogs of War and Hounds From Hell”

"This is the day I've been waiting for, the day when someone would be made to answer for what the rebels did to me," said 20-year-old Jabati Mambu, a student whose right arm was amputated by Sierra Leonean rebels during their invasion of the capital, Freetown, in Jan. 1999.

ECONOMY-SIERRA LEONE: Is the Sparkle Being Restored to Conflict Diamonds?

As members of Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front go on trial this week for atrocities committed during the country's civil war, the world is once again reminded of the toll that the trade in blood diamonds has taken on this West African state.

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