Sierra Leones eleven-year guerrilla war that left 200,000 people dead was brief, bloody and mindlessly brutal. It was also the second African war in which mercenaries were hired to counter some of the worst atrocities that Africa had on offer. By the time it ended in 2002, several groups of mercenaries including an air wing equipped with a pair of ageing Mi-24 helicopter gunships and backed by the British Army and the Royal Navy played significant roles in quelling the bush rebellion.It was an idiosyncratic war, which started with the Foday Sankohs Revolutionary United Front (RUF) chanting the slogan No more slaves, no more masters, power and wealth to the people and ended with a series of battles for control for Sierra Leones diamond mines in the interior. By then the Liberian tyrant Charles Taylor and Libyas Muammar Gadaffi were the prime movers for the rebel cause, one of the reasons why anyone deemed to be the enemy doctors, journalists, civil servants, missionaries, nuns and teachers was slaughtered.The war gradually deteriorated into some of the most barbaric violence seen in any African struggle and which sometimes included cannibalism, with an army of 11,000 child soldiers some as young as nine or ten high on drugs rounding up entire neighbourhoods to machine-gun them en masse or burn them alive in their homes. Amputations of limbs of women, the very young and the very old were commonplace.
||Pen & Sword Books
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Al J. Venter is a specialist military writer and has had 50 books published. He started his career with Geneva's Interavia Group, then owners of International Defence Review, to cover military developments in the Middle East and Africa. Venter has been writing on these and related issues such as guerrilla warfare, insurgency, the Middle East and conflict in general for half a century. He was involved with Jane's Information Group for more than 30 years and was a stringer for the BBC, NBC News (New York) as well as London's _Daily Express_ and _Sunday Express_. He branched into television work in the early 1980s and produced more than 100 documentaries, many of which were internationally flighted. His one-hour film, _Africa's Killing Fields_ (on the Ugandan civil war), was shown nationwide in the United States on the PBS network. Other films include an hour-long programme on the fifth anniversary of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, as well as _AIDS: The African Connection_, nominated for China's Pink Magnolia Award. His last major book was _Portugal's Guerrilla Wars in Africa_, nominated in 2013 for New York's Arthur Goodzeit military history book award. It has gone into three editions, including translation into Portuguese.
- 1. Gunship for Hire
- 2. The Colonial Epoch
- 3. The Popular Revolution
- 4. Foreign Elements Rally to the Cause
- 5. Executive Outcomes Moves In
- 6. The Mercenaries Make Gains
- 7. The Air War
- 8. Enter the British
- 9. The UN's West African Débâcle
- 10. The Mercenary Syndrome
- About the Author
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