dimanche 20 février 2011

Sierra Leone: Foday Sankoh, the African nightmare!

The lumumbist trauma.

On November 21, 1960, young Ghanaians and Sierra Leoneans helmets have received a precise order of the President Francis Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972): to protect the Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, risking their own lives under the watchful eye of A. Djim, Ambassador of Ghana.
Indeed, Colonel Joseph-Desire Mobutu, the Chief of Staff of the Congolese National Army, the Foreign Minister Justin-Marie Bomboko Nendaka and Victor Nendaka (1923-2002), Chief of the national security and the American Larry Devlin (1922-2008), chief of CIA covert operations in Leopoldville (Kinshasa) had decided to declare the ambassador of Ghana "persona non grata."
The Ghanaian government rejected the injunction. President F. Kwame Nkrumah had simply refused to accept the Congolese envoy in Accra and to read the letter to his Congolese counterpart, Joseph Kasavubu (1910-1969) ordered him to withdraw his ambassador in Leopoldville.
Lieutenant Colonel Justin Kokolo Longo (1913-1960) commander of the camp Leopoldville with a contingent of soldiers was sent to the Embassy of Ghana to expel him forcibly.
They were met by a barrage of Ghanaian peacekeepers and Sierra Leonean. Colonel Joseph-Desire Mobutu (1930-1997) ordered to encircle the Embassy of Ghana and shoot on sight anything that moved!
Before strengthening Congolese troops and mortar fire intensified, the Ghanaian embassy was reinforced by Tunisian peacekeepers. The battle lasted all night and several people dead including Lieutenant-Colonel Justin Kokolo Longo, the former highest-ranking public Congolese Force!
The rest just becomes dramatic for Lumumba and the Congo especially for young Ghanaian and Sierra Leoneans peacekeepers, including a young man of 23 named Foday Sankoh.
They are removed unceremoniously after the sudden death of Lumumba January 17, 1961.

Foday Sankoh Saybana is his name!

He was born October 17, 1937 into a poor family Masang Mayoso in Tonkolili District in southern Sierra Leone. Lack of means, his education did not go beyond primary school much, so he enlisted in the British colonial army.
Until the independence of his country, Sierra Leone, April 27, 1961, he served as a corporal in the British Army since 1956.
In 1960, he was part of the quota "Ghanaian" UN in Congo. Poured into the new Sierra Leonean army, he had distinguished and even took part in the coup that brought to power President Siaka Probyn Stevens (1905-1988).
From 1971, he languished for six years in prison Pademba Road in Freetown for his involvement in a plot to overthrow President Siaka Stevens. Upon his release from prison, he worked as a roving photographer while dreaming of setting up a revolutionary organization. His mythical hero is called Bai Bureh Kebalai (1840-1908), who rebelled against the British in the nineteenth century.
In the '80s, he joined the training camps of Colonel Gaddafi in Libya Mo'ammar. There he became friends with the Liberian Charles Taylor. In 1989, he founded the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). On 23 March 1991, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) that runs from the Sierra Leonean bush an ultimatum to President Joseph Saidu Momoh (1937-2003) to BBC radio from the Headquarters of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) of Charles Taylor.

The outbreak of a bloody epic!

In April 1991, the big night! Seconded by Charles Taylor, Liberia's new president (from 1997), here at the head of an army of going barefoot incorporating many child soldiers. Mystical guru, he has this incredible fascination troupe. He claims to have visions, punctuates his statements with references religious claims of supernatural powers.
Children will be cannon fodder privileged Ruf. Many are idle and miserable villages in Sierra Leone. To convince them, Foday Sankoh recruiters forced to kill the first mother and father, proven strategy of terror around the world to shape the juvenile psychology. The girls are resting warriors.
His watchwords are wild and direct: in "Operation Burn House (Burn the house)" after "Operation No Living Thing (No living thing)" and "Operation Pay Yourself (Do you pay on beast).
"His soldiers (often young children drugged) drew lots of civilian men, women and children of all ages, and cut off their members with machetes: hands, feet, ears, nose ...Sankoh and boasted that more than 4,000 penguins that he peopled his country than the 150,000 dead, including his militia depopulation, "says Celestin Monga.
Prior to amputate their civilian victims with machetes, the guerrillas of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) asking them simply: "Short or long sleeves" to see if they want to be mutilated at the wrist or shoulder!
The atrocities are accompanied by systematic rape. According to observers and NGO leaders, women pay the heaviest price for his dirty war. In three refugee camps in Freetown, Port Loko and Kenema, a humanitarian organization in Boston found that more than 9 out of 10 women interviewed reported having summers raped, beaten, forced into marriage or sexual slavery.
Until March 1996 with the help of Charles Taylor, the main cause of the Civil War and later president-elect of Liberia, it ignites and blood Sierra Leone in turn led by Captain Valentine Strasser and Brigadier Julius Maada Bio after the overthrow of General Joseph Saidu Momoh in April 1992.
On 15 March 1996, multiparty presidential elections lead to victory of Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, candidate of the Popular Party of Sierra Leone. Despite cease-fire proclaimed March 17, 1996, Foday Sankoh rejects election results and after the negotiations of March 25, 1996, he took refuge in Ivory Coast and Nigeria. On May 25, 1997, President Kabbah was overthrown by the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council led by Commander John Paul Koroma.
Nine months, he was restored to power by ECOMOG forces. Sentenced to death in absentia by the regime of Ahmad Tejan Kabbaj in November 1998, Sankoh was arrested and imprisoned in Conakry and Freetown. In November 1998, his supporters claiming among other things his release resumed hostilities and fighting fiercely against the elements of the Intervention Force West African (ECOMOG) that support the Civil Defense Forces (CDF) of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbaj.
In January 1999, the fighting reached the capital Freetown and are partially burned many civilian casualties (between 6,000 and 10,000 victims).
A peace agreement is signed in Lomé on 7 July 1999 between the RUF and the government of Ahmad Tejan Kabbaj under the aegis of the UN.
He was rehabilitated despite the atrocities committed by his fighters on civilians and appointed the President of the Commission of strategic resource management in the country, reconstruction and development and vice president of Sierra Leone.
To everyone's surprise, Mr. Sankoh is serious about his job and requires a review of all relevant licenses issued and control of new negotiations with foreign companies. Obviously, he preaches in the desert that he created around him with the killings: no senior official in Freetown is not involved in his commission and the United Nations Mission for Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) is entirely hostile to him.  
Meanwhile, the Security Council decides to increase troops and UN peacekeepers to deploy three battalions to take control of the diamond region. We are moving toward a force of 13,000 soldiers. The verbal escalation that will follow between Mr. Sankoh and Mr. Kofi Annan is an astonishing virulence for a UN secretary general.  
In fall 1999, he plunges back into the bush. He took the opportunity to marry Fatou, a young Senegalese lawyer.
His troops took 500 peacekeepers hostage of Zambian origin, which causes the intervention of British troops. 
They tried unsuccessfully to invade neighboring Guinea by supporting the Rally of Democratic Forces of Guinea (RFDG). In December 2000, for a few days, they besiege the towns of Gueckedou and Kissidougou (Guinea) before being repelled by the Guinean army. On 2 March 2002, Sankoh is being tried for the murder of nineteen demonstrators killed outside his home in Freetown in May 2000 and then detained.
On 4th March 2002, he was indicted for "murder, rape, sexual slavery, acts of terror" committed during the civil war (1991-2001) by the UN Special Court for Sierra Leone (sitting in the island of Bonthe off Sierra Leone).
For ten years, his war has claimed between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths!

 The end of a psychopathic monster.

On 29 July 2003 at 22h40 GMT, a man of 66 years old and unkempt appearance repulsive died from a stroke in hospital Choithram of Freetown, where he was under observation for six weeks.
Arrested in Freetown by the International Criminal Tribunal May 17, 2000 to be tried for "murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment, torture, rape, sexual slavery, persecution on political, religious or ethnic. An indictment of the historical process that is thrilling", he was locked up in jail for three years. Since the beginning of July he was in a catatonic state, requiring psychiatric care, but no country wanted to receive as part of an evacuation, were it only for a partial treatment, reports BBC.
"Foday Sankoy enjoyed the peaceful end that he denied to so many others. ...His death will not prevent the prosecution to seek the evidence in other trials, involvement in harmful activities that have left a legacy of horror in the minds and memories of those who survive him, "concludes Desmond de Silva, the Attorney-General's Special Court for Sierra Leone.
His body buried in Magburaka in Tonkolili district 200 kilometers from Freetown disappears from his grave a few days later. He was burned after being exhumed by the version of the local police? Or his body had been used to make amulets to boost its faithful!
This terrible war has been partially described in the excellent movie "Blood Diamond" in 2006 by Edward Zwick.

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