Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations on Earth. The average income of its people is little more than $100 per year. It ranks …show more content…
Usman Conteh had expected to be executed, but along with 100 other children, he was taken to the mines and forced to work at gunpoint, day and night. Rebels hovered over each captive, not allowing them to escape or steal. The diamonds were whisked out of the country along smuggling routes.
Diamonds mined illegally by the rebels flowed freely into the world diamond market. The documentary estimates that 15% of the world diamond market was made up by blood diamonds. Blood diamonds mined in the 1990s still grace the hands and necks of unsuspecting customers all over the world.
By the end of 1994, with much of Sierra Leone in chaos, the government hired a South African mercenary army, Executive Outcomes, to restore order. The soldiers hired were promised diamonds as pay. In just one month, Executive Outcomes drove the RUF out of most of the diamond-rich east. This resulting peace brought elections in 1996.
Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected president. With considerate amount of urges from the UN, Kabbah terminated the contract with Executive Outcomes. With no military force to stop them, the RUF rose up again and unleashed an era horrific revenge on the people of Sierra Leone to punish them for voting for President …show more content…
But, this time they were defeated once and for all. In May 2000, a British intervention force landed on the shores of Sierra Leone, together with UN troops they crushed the RUF and arrested their leader Fodey Sankoh.
The peace in Sierra Leone was a peculiar and uneasy one. Full amnesty had been granted to the RUF combatants so the war victims and the rebels who had terrorised them were once again neighbours being encouraged to forgive and forget.
War Crimes Tribunal dealt with those who bore the greatest responsibility for the war’s worst atrocities. Fodey Sankoh was charged with crimes against humanity but died in prison before he could be sentenced.
Diamonds also funded two other brutal civil wars in Africa during the 1990s. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and in Angola, and it was in Angola that the horrors of blood diamonds first came to world attention.
The story of Angola is a sad tale of human greed and the most horrifying conditions of exploitation.
From the 1970s to the mid 1990s a bitter civil war had raged between government troops and rebel forces known as ‘Unita’. While the government relied on oil reserves, the rebels turned to diamonds. By 1992, the rebels controlled nearly 70% of Angola’s diamond