Foreign policy and defense
Sierra Leone is a nation in Western Africa. Its capital city is Freetown. Sierra Leone is alliance-free but has generally been close to the western world, in particular the United Kingdom. The Civil War 1991–2002 ended with the help of the UN, and since then the country has depended on the World Organization for stability and post-war reconstruction.
Several countries, with Britain at the forefront, exerted pressure on the election in February 1996. The British government was also involved in the diplomatic efforts to re-elect President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah in 1998. This was largely due to the efforts of a British elite force that The UN and the domestic army could start pushing back the 2000 rebels and ending the war.
- Countryaah: Overview of business holidays and various national observances in Sierra Leone for years of 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025.
Since the UN force Unamsil began to build up to what was the world’s largest international peacekeeping force in the early 2000s, Sierra Leone has been dependent on the World Organization. To a certain extent, the UN may have used the country as the guinea pig for new forms of peacemaking work. In Sierra Leone, UN troops began not only to disarm and disarm combatants, but also in many ways to support civil society. The UNOSil civilian organization, which succeeded the Armed Forces Unamsil in 2006, has worked closely with local authorities to strengthen democracy and promote long-term development of the country. When also Uniosils operations discontinued in September 2008, Sierra Leone together with Burundi became the first country to receive support from a newly formed UN peace-making commission, Unipsil. Its task was to try to prevent countries that have just emerged from a conflict from being forced into war again.
Unipsil, in turn, was replaced in March 2014 by Undaf, which would concentrate on the continued development of the country. In this connection, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that the peacekeeping efforts in Sierra Leone have been very successful.
The unrest in neighboring countries has for many years affected Sierra Leone, as conflicts spread across borders. Guinea has actively intervened in Sierra Leonean crises since the early 1970s, but has also sent in its own troops to claim land. In 2001, Guinean troops entered the strategically important border town of Yenga to help the Freetown government stave off rebel forces. Guinea has subsequently retained control of Yenga despite the fact that in 2005 the countries agreed that the city belongs to Sierra Leone. In the summer of 2012, they agreed to withdraw their forces from the area and resolve the conflict with peaceful means.
Liberian militia leader and, subsequently, President Charles Taylor is believed to have played a major role in starting and sustaining the civil war in Sierra Leone through his support for the Ruf rebels and by letting Liberia become the transit country for smuggled diamonds that funded Ruf’s warfare. By contrast, Sierra Leone is believed to have been behind Liberian militia fighting Taylor (see Modern History).
New defense forces have been created with British assistance in particular and the results have been relatively good. However, the soldiers have poor working conditions and low wages and the discipline has broken. Since 2012, the defense has gained access to modern weapons and the number of soldiers was limited to 10,500 men in 2014, which contributed to a more professional spirit. In 2015, Sierra Leonean soldiers participated in five different UN missions abroad. The army (and the police) also played an important role in fighting the Ebola epidemic 2014–2015.
A problem in recent years has been that Latin American, especially Colombian, drug lords have tried to exploit Sierra Leone and other weak, war-ravaged countries in West Africa as intermediaries in smuggling traffic to Europe. This risks increasing corruption as well as other crime in the country and may in the long term pose a serious threat to stability throughout the region.
FACTS – DEFENSE
Army: 8,500 men (2017)
The fleet: 200 men (2015)
Military expenditure’s share of GDP: 0.7 percent (2017)
Military spending’s share of the state budget: 3.4 percent (2017)
The Minister of Health is dismissed for corruption
He is charged with violation of the procurement regulations.
The Special Court for Sierra Leone begins to be wound up
The only remaining case, concerning former Liberian President Charles Taylor, is handled in The Hague.
Hard punishment for Ruf leaders
Three former leaders of the Ruf militia are sentenced to long prison sentences by the Special Court for Sierra Leone.