Sierra Leone is preparing for its national elections. It’s the country’s fourth elections since the end of its 11-year civil war but only the second elections that’s being held without UN oversight. We know that violence has been a staple in recent elections, but that got us thinking about other aspects of life in the country. So what is life really like in Sierra Leone?
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We also have to mention that Sierra Leone has been marred by conflict, violence, and disease over the last two decades—because their impacts can still be felt today. The country spiraled into civil war from 1991-2002. Tens of thousands of civilians died as a result. Hundreds were subjected to brutal limb amputation as punishment and women were subject to widespread sexual abuse. Both sides of the conflict—rebels and government forces—used child soldiers in their fights. And up to a quarter of the population was displaced.
In 1999 a ceasefire was brokered and UN troops were deployed to help keep the peace but the war wasn’t officially declared over until 2002.
Then in 2014, Sierra Leone was one of the hardest hit by the regional ebola outbreak. There were over 14,000 confirmed cases of the virus, and nearly 4,000 people died as a result. Citizens have grown mistrustful of the government after its perceived mismanagement of the ebola crisis.
And in 2017 deadly mudslides killed hundreds of people and displaced hundreds more.
The scars and impacts of these issues affect daily life in the country to this day. Because Sierra Leone still suffers some from the geographical and political divisions that fueled its civil conflict, a peaceful, democratic transition of power would be a major milestone. But minor violence related to the elections has already broken out, and the United Nations has expressed its concern.
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NowThis World is dedicated to bringing you topical explainers about the world around you. Each week we’ll be exploring current stories in international news, by examining the facts, providing historical context, and outlining the key players involved. We’ll also highlight powerful countries, ideologies, influential leaders, and ongoing global conflicts that are shaping the current landscape of the international community across the globe today.