After the Cold War the majority of wars in Africa were "societal" while conflict between states was considerably rare. The inter-state wars were further prolonged and worsened by foreign support. Military assistance on part of Western and Socialist countries is one of the common outside causes for many of the ethnic and inter-communal conflicts in several African regions (Marshall, 2005; Pollard & Odo, 2004).
Key Words- Conflicts, West Africa, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia
Case Study: Sierra Leone, RUF, Foday Saybana Sankoh, APC, The Abidjan Process, ECOMOG, AFRC-RUF, The Lome Agreement, ECOWAS, UNOMIL
[...] The war economies dimension of conflict in West Africa views the quest for resources and thus economic benefit as the driving force behind violent struggles such as in the cases of Sierra Leone and Liberia (Obi, 2006). Consistent with conflict trends across the continent, conflicts in West Africa are generally of low intensity and spread across “communal, religious and ethnic lines” (Obi, 2006). Tribal identity rather than citizenship is often times the primary binding element among various groups. Thus, two groups of similar ethnic background, but different citizenship, find similar agendas to defend and form a distinct group and side to a conflict. [...]
[...] It becomes clear that at the root of the conflict in Sierra Leone were complex dynamics of political and economic instability stemming from colonial and Cold War policies and underdeveloped institutions. Why, however, have both the Abidjan and Lome agreements failed to establish permanent peace? What is at the root of the long-lasting conflict? Alfred Zack-Williams (1999) argues that the “state-legitimization” has been based not on the strengthening representative institutions, but rather on an emphasis on an “oppressive state apparatus” (p.143). [...]
[...] The Lome agreement did not last long as many members of the RUF refused to comply with the disarmament condition of the agreement. Official peace was not declared until January 2002 and democratic parliamentary elections were held in May 2002 (Karz, 2007). What Went Wrong? One of the most prominent characteristics of the nine-year conflict in Sierra Leone is its resistance to military and peace accord solutions. Experts attribute this aspect of the conflict to various internal and external causes. [...]
[...] Danny Hoffman (2006) warns against this narrow interpretation of the political realities in Sierra Leone and Africa in general. If the international actors continue to deny the fact that violence is a form of politics, Hoffman states, conflict will continue to prevail as the language of war the two sides speak are largely different. Case Study: Liberia Conflict Background The conflict in Liberia began in 1989 when the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) invaded Liberia from Cote D'Ivoire and attacked the town of Butuo in Nimba County (Ellis, 1995). [...]
[...] Charles Taylor's animosity towards the Sierra Leone government stems from the latter's rejection to support his NPFL insurgency in Liberia and support for the Monitoring Group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG). Gaddafi, on the other hand, was a supporter of Charles Taylor's coup as he aimed at undermining the US-backed leadership of Samuel Doe in Liberia. Blaise Compaore was instrumental in creating the link between Gaddafi and Taylor by arranging an introductory meeting between the two and also financially supporting the NPFL insurgency (Kurz, 2007). [...]
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