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Monday, March 23, 2020

the civil war of this date 29 years ago ! .. .. Leone

History is not all about Covid 19 only – today, Leone and some historic significance ! ~ meantime, have you heard of - Karenjit Kaur Vohra ?

In 1787 the British Crown founded a settlement in this African country  in what was called the "Province of Freedom". It intended to resettle some of the "Black Poor of London", some of whom were African-Americans freed by the British during the war. About 400 blacks and 60 whites reached this place  on 15 May 1787. The group also included some West Indians of African descent from London. After they established Granville Town, most of the first group of colonists died, owing to disease and warfare with the indigenous African peoples (Temne), who resisted their encroachment. The 64 remaining colonists established a second Granville Town.

Bollywood stars have devised ways to keep themselves busy while in self-quarantine. While some are giving fitness tips to fans online, others are sharing their beauty regimes. Karenjit Kaur Vohra,  known by her stage name Sunny Leone is a former pornographic actress currently active in the Indian film industry as an actress and model. She has American and Canadian citizenship. She was named Penthouse Pet of the Year in 2003, was a contract performer for Vivid Entertainment.  Actress Sunny Leone is also practising social distancing and has shared a few pictures of herself on Twitter. She wrote, "Can’t get any more socially distant than this."  The virus spread has forced celebrities to stay at home. Earlier, Sunny shared a picture of her family, all wearing masks, and wrote, "A new era! So sad that my kids have to now live like this but it’s necessary. Training toddlers to wear a mask Day 1...

Miles Away, there was confusion at Lungi International Airport in Sierra Leone on Wednesday after a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight carrying a suspected coronavirus case landed.  The flight to Freetown, whose first leg had seen it first land in another country, had four Japanese passengers on board, one of whom was reported to be displaying symptoms of the viral infection. News of the suspected case first emanated from Liberia where the plane had transited en route to Sierra Leone.

The leone is the currency of Sierra Leone. It is subdivided into 100 cents. Sierra Leone is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa, bordered by Liberia and Guinea.  The capital and largest city is Freetown.  Way back in 1898, the Sierra Leonean people mainly from the north of then Sierra Leone protectorate, led by the Temne chief Bai Bureh, led an armed rebellion against British rule that is known today as the Hut Tax War of 1898. On  27 April 1961, when it achieved independence from Britain,  Milton Margai became the country's first Prime Minister. Milton Margai's political party, the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), under the leadership of Albert Margai, narrowly lost the 1967 Sierra Leone parliamentary elections to the main opposition party.

The country has been torn by civil wars.  The Sierra Leone Civil War (1991–2002) was a civil war in Sierra Leone that began on 23 March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government. The resulting civil war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.

During the first year of the war, the RUF took control of large swathes of territory in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, which were rich in alluvial diamonds. The government's ineffective response to the RUF, and the disruption in government diamond production, precipitated a military coup d'état in Apr 1992 by the National Provisional Ruling Council (NPRC).  Sierra Leone installed an elected civilian government in Mar 1996, and the retreating RUF signed the Abidjan Peace Accord. Under UN pressure, the government terminated its contract with EO before the accord could be implemented, and hostilities recommenced. In May 1997 a group of disgruntled SLA officers staged a coup and established the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) as the new government of Sierra Leone.  The RUF joined with the AFRC to capture Freetown with little resistance. The new government, led by Johnny Paul Koroma, declared the war over. A wave of looting, rape, and murder followed the announcement. Reflecting international dismay at the overturning of the civilian government, ECOMOG forces intervened and retook Freetown on behalf of the government, but they found the outlying regions more difficult to pacify.

In January 1999, world leaders intervened diplomatically to promote negotiations between the RUF and the government. The Lome Peace Accord, signed on 27 March 1999, was the result. Lome gave Foday Sankoh, the commander of the RUF, the vice presidency and control of Sierra Leone's diamond mines in return for a cessation of the fighting and the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force to monitor the disarmament process. RUF compliance with the disarmament process was inconsistent and sluggish, and by May 2000, the rebels were advancing again upon Freetown.  As the UN mission began to fail, the United Kingdom declared its intention to intervene in the former colony and Commonwealth member in an attempt to support the weak government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. With help from a renewed UN mandate and Guinean air support, the British Operation Palliser finally defeated the RUF, taking control of Freetown. On 18 Jan 2002, President Kabbah declared the Sierra Leone Civil War over.

This country was again in news few year back as an  Ebola virus epidemic in Sierra Leone occurred in 2014, affecting alongside  neighbouring countries of Guinea and Liberia. In Mar 2014,  Guinean health officials announced the outbreak of a mysterious hemorrhagic fever "which strikes like lightning.”  It was identified as Ebola virus disease and spread to Sierra Leone by May 2014. The disease is thought to have originated when a child in a bat-hunting family contracted the disease in Guinea.  Consumption of African bushmeat, including rats, bats, and monkeys, is commonplace in Sierra Leone and West Africa in general. At the time it was discovered, it was thought that Ebola virus is not endemic to Sierra Leone or to the West Africa region and this epidemic represents the first time the virus has been discovered there.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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