Rebels and intellectuals in Sierra Leone's civil war

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    Rebels and Intellectuals in Sierra Leone's Civil War Paul Richards Wageningen University and Research Centre Wageningen, The Netherlands Ibrahim Abdullah, ed. Between Democracy and Terror: The Sierra Leone Civil War. Dakar: CODESRIA, 2004. Distributed by African Books Collective Ltd., Unit 13 Kings Meadow, Ferry Hinksey Rd., Oxford OX2 0DP, UK. x + 263 pp. Maps. Tables. Notes. Bibliogaphy. $25.00. Paper. The Publisher Claims that this is "the first serious study to engage with the Sierra Leone civil war." It is indeed a serious study, mainly of the war's political context and events in the capital. But information about the actual fighting is limited to a chapter on peacekeeping operations and four interviews in the last chapter by Abdullah and Ismail Rashid on the subject of child soldiers. One of these interviews is especially valuable in confirming that the government army was carrying out atrocities, including amputations, against rebel captives in 1993, well before the wave of amputations perpetrated by the Revolutionary United Front from 1996. The authors do not comment on this evidence, but it has long been my argument that army atrocities helped "enclave" the RUF and determine its mentality as an armed sect. The first part of the book reprints three articles by Abdullah, Rashid, and Yusuf Bangura, originally published in Africa Development in 1997. The RUF claimed to have been inspired by radical student debates in the 1970s and 1980s. As former activists, they are anxious in these articles to distance themselves from that claim. Abdullah and Bangura, in particular, seek to confront my 1996 book on the war, Fighting for the Rainforest (James Currey), in which I argue that student radicalism was a factor in the rise of the RUF....
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)119-123
    JournalAfrican Studies Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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