I remember first hearing about the civil war in Sierra Leone from my Uncle. The stories that came back from Sierra Leone chilled me to the core. The things happening in Freetown were more in keeping with scenes from Dante’s Inferno than the sunny happy place that I remembered. Places visited on family holidays had become battlefields, and the country itself become associated with brutal fighting, kidnapping, murder and atrocities against women and children.
The UN stepped in, half heartedly at first and did little to prevent the decent into anarchy. The troops that they deployed were often poorley trained and ill equiped. The idea that it was best left to African governments to solve African problems was make mockery of when hundreds of UN troops were captured and held hostage by the rebels. Finaly, after far too much procrastination by our Government, the British armed forces were deployed, the results were dramatic and they were swift.
The British Army’s ability and willingness to take on the bandits restored faith and helped to reintroduce democracy (of sorts). Now the UN feel that the country has on enough to remove their military presence.
I am happy that Sierra Leone is a place that is safe enough to go back to, I want my wife and children to see what a beautiful country it is and I want them to remember Sierraleonians was the warm, happy friendly people that they are.