Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration programs.
Sierra Leone Tensions flared as country went to polls for general elections.
Security forces 21 June clashed with opposition All People’s Congress (APC) supporters in capital Freetown as they gathered to protest “discrepancies in the electoral process”; APC same day said police killed one protester, while police denied firing shots but confirmed arresting 66 people. After elections 24 June proceeded without major incidents, APC said security forces 25 June fired tear gas and live ammunition into their headquarters in Freetown, leaving one person dead; police acknowledged firing tear gas at APC supporters who allegedly harassed passers-by near party headquarters and claimed victory. As APC presidential candidate Samura Kamara called early counts showing incumbent President Bio in lead “daylight robbery”, election commission 27 June declared Bio as winner of presidential election with 56.17% of votes; Kamara immediately rejected results, deeming them “not credible”. European election observers 28 June reported “statistical inconsistencies” in election results and urged election commission to “promptly publish disaggregated results data per polling station to allow for public scrutiny of the results”.
As part of Crisis Group’s research into civilian vigilante groups in counter-insurgencies in Africa, Senior Research Analyst Ned Dalby went to Sierra Leone to investigate the wartime Civil Defence Forces and their core fighters, the Kamajors. For an in-depth analysis of vigilantism in the Lake Chad basin, see Watchmen of Lake Chad: Vigilante Groups Fighting Boko Haram.
The landmark guilty verdict today against former Liberian President Charles Ghankay Taylor is a warning to those most responsible for atrocity crimes that they can be held accountable.
Sierra Leone has made much progress since the civil war ended in 2002, but a number of social and economic time bombs must still be defused if an enduring peace is to be built. The 2007 elections, in which Ernest Bai Koroma won the presidency and his All People’s Congress (APC) wrested the parliament from the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), restored legitimacy to the electoral process.
Sierra Leone holds presidential and legislative elections in August 2007. President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, who won a landslide victory in 2002 at the end of the civil war, split the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) by anointing a successor, Vice-President Solomon Berewa.
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