Foreign policy and defense
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
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.
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
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
FACTS - DEFENSE
8,500 men (2017)
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.