Cease Fire: Abidjan Peace Agreement
The armed conflict between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF/SL is hereby ended with immediate effect. Accordingly, the two sides will ensure that a total cessation of hostilities is observed forthwith.
The Commission for the Consolidation of Peace was established after the peace agreement on 30 November 1996. The four-men RUF team and three former ministers and a senior advisor to Kabbah made up the commission for the consolidation of Peace. The RUF delegation to the commission came to Freetown for a talk on December 19, 1996. The commission was expected to begin its work in establishing six “committees which amongst other things will oversee the encampment and disarmament of soldiers.”1
- 1. "Sierra Leone rebels come to capital for talks," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, December 19, 1996.
A serious breach against the ceasefire took place in January 1997, when the Kamakorjs launched attacks against RUF units in northern Kailahun. This was condemned by the rebels as being “unprovoked.” Some argue that the continued actions of the Kamajors (which also included executions of RUF combatants that tried to resettle in their villages) was one of the main reasons for why the RUF ultimately rejected the 1996 accord and sided with the AFRC in May 1997.2
A civil defense group assisting the military to end the conflict reported on January 6, 1997 that “a huge rebel base has been discovered in the south of Sierra Leone”. According to the deputy chief of the Kamajors defense group over 2,000 rebels armed with light weapons and anti-air craft guns were at the camp in the Moyamba district, 200 kilometers away from Freetown.3
On March 15, 1997, The Economist reported that the country was sliding back to civil war. It was reported that the "demobilisation of the RUF had not begun: rebels should have had started moving into three assembly points but it had not yet been decided where these should be."4
A coup took place on 26 May 1997, when Major Johnny Paul Koroma and his soldiers, together with RUF units, toppled Sierra Leone's government and “clashed with Nigerian troops protecting President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah who fled into exile in Guinea.”5
In hindsite, there is general agreement that the peace process fell apart with fighting in the Moyamba district and with the 1997 coup against the government. "The Army accused Kabbah of putting more resources into the civil defense forces (primarily the Kamajors) than into the Army (SLA). The SLA and rebels aligned in opposition to Kabbah, the SLPP (Kabbah’s political party), and the CDFs.”6
- 2. David Keen, Conflict and Collusion in Sierra Leone (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005),193-197.
- 3. "Rebel base discovered in Sierra Leone," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, January 6, 1997.
- 4. "Sierra Leone. Sliding back to war?," The Economist, March 15, 1997, 3.
- 5. "Sierra Leone coup leader claims power," The Independent (London) May 26, 1997,13.
- 6. Kendra Dupuy and Helga Malmin Binningsbø, "Power-sharing and Peace-building in Sierra Leone: Power-sharing Agreements, Negotiations and Peace Processes," CSCW Policy Brief 7 (Oslo: PRIO/CSCW, 2007).
RUF and the former government returned to full scale civil war in 1998.7
Coding for this case ceased on December 31, 1998.