Ruf Sierra Leone

In: Social Issues

Submitted By nicmend
Words 4057
Pages 17
The RUF: revolutionary ideals turned ideology of terror

The RUF was created around 1982 by a small number of disenfranchised Sierra

Leonean intellectuals with an ambiguous revolutionary ideology with a poorly

articulated socialist agenda. The RUF’s pledge to fight against the one-party

system, imposed by the All People’s Congress since independence in 1961, and

for a more transparent and democratic state, initially received some popular

support across ethnic and religious lines. However, until the RUF invasion, the

group was relatively unknown. The increase in RUF activity was largely due to

both the fight for control of Sierra Leone’s mineral resources (a dominant factor

driving the RUF for most of the war), and the impact of external influences,

especially the spread of the Liberian civil war into Sierra Leone.

The military strength of the RUF was increased by considerable support from the

NPFL, formed by Charles Taylor, one of the warring factions in the Liberian civil

war, Burkinabè mercenaries, and the provision of military training to RUF fighters

from Libya. Liberia, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire and Libya reportedly also provided

the RUF with military equipment.

Much of the RUF’s original ideology was lost among RUF fighters themselves,

since a large proportion were in fact Liberian rebels fighting for their own cause.

Moreover, any initial popular support that the group had enjoyed in the past was

undermined by its use of intimidation and terror tactics.

The RUF carried out massive forced recruitment and numbered over 24,000 by

1999. A large number of RUF officers were under 18 and most of the higher

ranking officers shared very little of the group’s initial ideology.

For most of the war the RUF’s leadership was personalized in its founder, Foday

Sankoh, who controlled all RUF policies…...

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