Cease Fire: Lomé Peace Agreement

ARTICLE 1

CEASEFIRE: The armed conflict between the Government of Sierra Leone and the RUF is hereby ended with immediate effect. Accordingly, the two sides shall ensure that a total and permanent cessation of hostilities is observed forthwith.

Implementation History

1999

Minimum Implementation

A number of allegations of ceasefire violations were made in 1999. The rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, argued that the pro-government Kamajor militia violated the ceasefire by attacking Revolutionary United Front (RUF) positions in the villages of Masingbi and Gold Town. The government denied the alleged report of a ceasefire violation. These villages are located between the northern town of Makeni and the town of Kono in the east. UNOMSIL's military spokesperson in Freetown, Major Jim Gray, told IRIN news that he could not give any information as there were no UN military observers in the area where the attacks allegedly occurred.1  

The pro-government Kamajors militia claimed, on July 28, 1999, that the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) fighters attacked their positions. The Attorney-General, Solomon Berewa, denied claims of the violations, saying, "there hasn't been any instance of a clash [on] the July 7 Lomé peace agreement”2 

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ambassador Francis Okelo, reported that:

"[T]he UN, as one of the moral Guarantors of the Lomé Peace Agreement, was alarmed by a significant increase in a wide range of violations. The statement pointed to such breaches as active combat, movement of troops and weaponry, human abuses against civilians, systematic assault on humanitarian personnel, and continued detention of abductees, particularly women and children.” The statement clearly mentioned that the, “RUF/AFRC leadership was not complying with the provisions of the Lomé Peace Agreement or could not control its field commanders or combatants.”3

  • 1. "Sierra Leone; Government denies RUF claim of cease-fire violations," Africa News, July 21, 1999.
  • 2. "Government claims rebels violate cease-fire in Sierra Leone," Deutsche Presse-Agentur, July 28, 1999.
  • 3. "Sierra Leone; UN concerned about ceasefire violations in Sierra Leone," Africa News, November 3, 1999.
2000

Minimum Implementation

On May 15, 2000, government forces were reportedly pushing toward a traditional stronghold of the Revolutionary United Front rebels. The troops were moving 35 miles east of the capital to secure key bridges and towns the troops had lost to the rebels the previous week. At the same time, the rebels held 340 UN peacekeepers hostage and the UN was working to arrange a ceasefire and negotiate the release of its peacekeepers. On May 14, 2000, the rebels reportedly released 139 U.N. troops to Liberian President Charles Taylor after having turned over 18 others to Indian peacekeepers inside Sierra Leone earlier in the day.4 

In June 2000 there was an unsuccessful effort to restore the ceasefire. “A six-member ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States delegation arrived in Sierra Leone late Wednesday 14th June, where they will attempt to bring about a cease-fire between government and rebel forces and to put the peace process back on track.”5 The recent surge in violence by both the rebels and the Government caused the UN Mission to Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, to call for a ceasefire.6

On November 10, 2000, during a one-day conference at the Nigerian administrative capital of Abuja, Government and rebel negotiators agreed to a 30-day unconditional cease-fire agreement. The ceasefire went into effect at midnight. State radio stated that a cease-fire deal had been reached with rebels of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and that the cease-fire is to take effect on midnight of the same day (Friday). In the agreement, both sides agreed to “allow unhindered access to all areas in the country by both local and international charities as well as allow the full deployment of the UN force in Sierra Leone to all areas in the country including the rebel-held diamond rich Kono District and Tongo Fields. Calls by the rebels for the release of their detained leader and senior comrades were turned down.”7

  • 4. "Army Presses Sierra Leone Rebels; Troops Advance Despite U.N. Push For a Cease-Fire," The Washington Post, May 16, 2000, Pg. A14.
  • 5. "Sierra Leone: ECOWAS delegation arrives to attempt cease-fire agreement," BBC Monitoring Africa – Political, June 16, 2000.
  • 6. "Sierra Leone; UN Mission Calls For Cease-Fire," Africa News, July 15, 2000.
  • 7. "Sierra Leone; Government/Rebels Agreed To Cease-Fire," Africa News, November 11, 2000.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

The restored ceasefire was upheld as violations declined throughout the year. “The interim leader of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in Sierra Leone has reaffirmed his group's commitment to the Abuja cease-fire agreement and pledged to continue to return weapons and equipment stolen from United Nations peacekeepers, the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) said.”8 The rebels reportedly would also open access to several major roads (Makeni-Lunsar-Freetown, Makeni-Kambia and Bumbuna- Magburaka). According to the UN Mission, UN military observers would be sent to verify the road openings. “According to the UN Mission, General Opande and Mr. Sesay also agreed in principle to establish contact groups of senior UN and RUF officials to facilitate the implementation of the Abuja agreement.”9 

On May 15, 2001, “rival forces in Sierra Leone's long-running war agreed to stop fighting and allow the UN mission in the country, UNAMSIL, to guarantee the free movement of people and goods nationwide.”10 

There were sporadic reports of ceasefire violations by the civil defense force (CDF) in 2001. On May 16, 2001, “Rebels and a civil militia agreed to a cease-fire during peace talks aimed at ending the country's decade-old civil war. A communique said the rebel Revolutionary United Front and the government-backed Civil Defense Force, also known as the Kamajors, have agreed to cease all hostilities."11 

  • 8. "Sierra Leone Rebel Group Reaffirms Commitment To Cease- Fire," Africa News, January 8, 2001.
  • 9. "Sierra Leone Rebel Group Reaffirms Commitment To Cease- Fire," Africa News, January 8, 2001.
  • 10. "Sierra Leone; RUF, CDF Agree to Ceasefire," Africa News, May 17, 2001.
  • 11. "Sierra Leone: A Cease-Fire," New York Times, May 16, 2001.
2002

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2003

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2004

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2005

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2006

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2007

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year. 

2008

Full Implementation

No serious violations were reported this year.