Monday, February 8, 2016

Revolutionary United Front by Caitlin Williams

     The RUF stands for the Revolutionary United Front. They were a rebel army that fought an 11 year war in Sierra Leone. The RUF was created by Foday Sankoh who was of Temne and Mende background. The RUF consisted of the entire Mende tribe in southern and eastern provinces of the country and some people from Freetown, Sierra Leone's capital. The RUF wanted to replicate Charles Taylors success in overthrowing the Liberian government. The rebels were a group of Sierra Leoneans that used National Patriotic Front of Liberia tactics accross the border. The National Patriotic Front of Liberia was a rebel group that initiated and participated in the first Liberian civil war from 1989-1996 that Charles Taylor led himself.

     Foday's slogan when the RUF first came to be was, "No more slaves, no more masters, power and wealth to the people." Foday said he wanted to share the wealth of the diamonds with the people but then quickly things changed and he wanted to keep them for himself. The RUF became only focused on protecting their resource base which was the diamond mines. Foday didn't want the government troops to get the diamonds and gain control and power over them and this led to the cutting off of hands, arms, legs. This was to send the message, "You don't hold your weapon against your brother." I believe this is when they became completely corrupt and were no longer for the people of Sierra Leone.

     It is estimated that over 200,000 lives were lost in this civil war and over 11,000 children were child soldiers. 2000 children are still left serving today. The rebels recruited children from ages 7-11 and are said to have even recruited some the age of 5. The rebels often made children kill their parents and they were recognized by captains because of their obedience and cruelty. The RUF was also said to have practiced canniblism.

      In 1997 Foday fled to Nigeria after the RUF was weakened and was captured and put in prison. He was released in 1999 when he agreed to sign the Lome Peace Accord. The Lome Peace Accord was an agreement between the reinstated president of Sierra Leone, Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, and the RUF leader, Foday Sankoh. It stated that Sankoh would get a position is the transitional government and as well as amnesty for his combatants. It was signed on July 7, 1999. Shortly after the Accord fighting broke out again and the United Nations sent peace keeping troops in hoping to integrate the RUF into a national army. This did not work and the RUF kept 500 of the peacekeeping troops on Charles Taylor negotiated their release.

     The British and Guineans sent in a small professional force in 2001 and the Indian and Briish special forces led the defeat of the RUF and the end of the revolution. Today Sankoh was captured by the mob and given to the British and died of natural causes in prison. Sam Buckarie was the leader of the RUF while Foday was imprisoned back in 1997-1999 and was killed in a shootout with the Liberian Forces. The other 3 leaders, Issa Sesay, Morris Kallon and Augustine Gba were all sentenced to prison on February 25, 2009.

     The RUF was eventually converted into a political party and in 2007 merged with the All People Congress. The All People Congress was a group of Sierra Leoneans who opposed the idea of election before independence but supported independence before election. The RUF published a pamphlet titled, "Footpaths to Democracy: Toward a New Sierra Leone." It contained rhetorical references to social justice and pan-Africanism.

"The truth behind the soldiers of the RUF in Sierra Leone"



  1. this has a lot of good information that I had never heard about before, including the cannibalism.

  2. "No more slaves, no more masters, power and wealth to the people." obviously sounds empowering, but the way the RUF handled their business definitely was cruel, to say the least. The power-struggle definitely warped a lot of people. As Lucas mentioned, the cannibalism is insane, but if resources were low, it would probably be a last resort!

    1. could be a rumor but certainly found it interesting and highly possible.

  3. i learned a lot from this as well. and the RUF was most definitely cruel.

  4. Interesting fact,so basically all RUF did was just for diamonds and money, I can't figure out how Foday was released from jail after ruining families and killing people


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