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Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Bo, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Kenema, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Makeni, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Port Loko, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Bo, Sierra Leone, West Africa
Sierra Care 2013 Christmas Outreach in Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa

Conflict Diamonds–a culmination of events

 Sierra Leone Amputee Camp      

The capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown was named after the  freed slaves were settled in the small British  colony. During this time nothing was significant about Sierra Leone other than a resting point for the freed slaves. 

Diamonds were discovered in Sierra Leone in 1930, since then diamonds have been the focal point  that has shaped this small nation and her people.  In 1937, Sierra Leone was mining one million carats per year. By 1970 the production of diamonds had doubled to two million carats. The colonial masters—Britain signed an agreement with DeBeers mining company giving it exclusive mininig and propecting rights over the entire country for ninty-nine years.  About  75, 000 illegal miners were in operation by 1956 and is seen as the breaking point for law and order. The key players were of two nationals–Madingos and Lebanese. The Lebanese began  to re-route their trade through Liberia as a precautionary measure, at least from their perspective. Debeers setup a buying office in Liberia in 1954, Belgian and Israeli dimond buyers quickly made their presence in Liberia .

1930 through 1998, approx. 55 million carats were officially  mined in Sierra Leone. At an average price of $270 per carate (1996 dollars), thus totalling $15 Billion, money that never benefited the bulk of Sierra Leoneans. In 1968, a populist prime minister Siaka P Stevens was in power. The prime minister was very interested in illegal diamond trade and he quickly nationalized the diamond operations  of DeBeers with all key decisions being made by himself or his close associate, Jamil Mohamed,  a Lebanese business man.

Official figures showed that legitimate diamond exports dropped to 595, 000 carats in 1980. A further decline was reported in 1988 to 48, 000 as illegal trading eroded the official figures. In 1987, a number of Israeli investors with connections to Antwerp diamond trade and Russian crime families became involved with the government diamond enterprise.

Neighbouring  Liberia had experienced civil unrest, coups and counter-coups through out the 1980s. Among the waring factions in Liberia was Charles G Taylor,  former president now awaiting a U. N tribunal. During the fighting in Liberia, Sierra Leone was a military base for the West African Peace Keeping Force. Charles Taylor therefore threathened Sierra Leone with war “Sierra Leone will one day taste the bitterness of war” . Such words eventually left about half a million dead, many amputations of children, women and men.

Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh took full control of Sierra Leone  diamond fields, mined and sold Sierra Leone diamonds in exchange for arms and drugs.