The Sierra Leone Web


October 1994

27 October: Rebels firing rocket-propelled grenades killed 32 soldiers on Sunday, military officials said on Thursday. The rebels ambushed a convoy carrying reinforcements to the scene of a weekend clash. Military officials said 4 soldiers and 21 rebels were killed in Sunday's clash, which followed a surprise rebel attack in Kambona township.

26 October: Sierra Leonean teachers went on strike Wednesday over pay and trade union rights. Union officials said the estimated 35,000 teachers employed by the state stopped work to demand prompt payments of salaries and allowances and a 30 percent pay increase. The union also wants the NPRC government to repeal a decree banning the right to strike. All schools in Freetown and the provinces were reported closed, except for private schools. The Sierra Leone Labour Congress has offered to try to break the impasse in talks between the government and teaching union officials.

25 October: Rebels ambushed a convoy Matotoka-Kono highway Sunday and killed an army lieutenant and a 16-month old girl, military officials said on Tuesday. They said 10 civilians were wounded when civilian vehicles travelling with a military escort came under fire. The last reported rebel attack in the eastern region occurred on September 20.

20 October: Former President Joseph Momoh on Thursday denied a report published in the government weekly newspaper Liberty Voice on Tuesday that he was training a force in Guinea to overthrow the government of Captain Valentine Strasser. "There is no iota of truth in the story...I don't have the means of carrying out such a costly venture and even if I had the means, I don't have the intention," Momoh said. "The last thing I would like to see is Sierra Leone being destroyed further...The people of Sierra Leone are going through very trying times with an unending rebel war that is claiming lives and property daily." Guinean troops are deployed in Sierra Leone to fight alongside the army, and an official at the Guinean Defence Ministry expressed disappointment that Freetown could accuse Guinea of letting dissidents operate on its territory.

19 October: The Sierra Leone Initiative for Peace (SLIP) Wednesday denied charges by Sierra Leonean Ambassador Wilfred Kanu that it was training a guerilla force in Liberia to overthrow the government of Captain Valentine Strasser, dismissing the accusations as baseless and absurd. It said all the group was doing was contacting relatives and friends who were fighting the NPRC government to persuade them to surrender. "It is surprising for Ambassador Kanu to publicly denounce the activities of SLIP which he personally helped to set up," the statement said. "Perhaps the ambassador is being misled by some misguided Sierra Leonean miscreants residing here who are actively in support of subversive activities to prolong the war in Sierra Leone."

18 October: The government weekly newspaper Liberty Voice said Tuesday that former civilian president Joseph Momoh and two of his ministers were training a force of 200 Sierra Leonean refugees to launch an invasion from Guinea to overthrow the NPRC government. The report was published a day after Sierra Leone's ambassador to Liberia accused two Sierra Leonean organisations of plotting to send guerillas across the border from Cape Mount County. Senior police and military officials in Freetown said they had received intelligence reports on Momoh's alleged plans, but that security on the border was tight and they did not see how an invasion would be possible. An official at the Guinean embassy in Freetown said Guinea was unaware of any plans by Momoh. "The government of Guinea has always assured the Sierra Leone government that we would not allow any dissidents to use Guinea as their base to attack Sierra Leone," the official said.

17 October: Government troops killed 24 RUF rebels at the town of Kadaminahun, near Kenema on Saturday, military officials said on Monday. No rebel attacks had been reported for the past four weeks, but the campaign by the RUF had has been increasingly replaced by generalised banditry. Foreign security sources say several attacks officially ascribed to the front were carried out by army deserters, bandits, or fighters of Liberia's ULIMO militia, deployed in Sierra Leone to help fight the rebels.

Sierra Leone health officials said Monday that 500 people had died in a 3-month long cholera epidemic. Although fewer cases were being reported in and around Freetown, the disease was spreading elsewhere, they said. "While the epidemic is being controlled in the western area it is now being serious in seaside villages along the Atlantic, which means it has spread all over the country," a health ministry official said.

Sierra Leonean Ambassador to Liberia Wilfred Kanu said Monday he has evidence of a plot by Liberian-based Sierra Leonean exiles had begun "a secret recruitment exercise to unseat the military government" of Captain Valentine Strasser. Speaking at the Moslem Congress High School in Monrovia, Kanu cited intelligence reports which he said showed the Sierra Leone Initiative for Peace and the Pujehun Defence Force, both of which had representatives in Monrovia, planned to send guerrillas across the border from Cape Mount County to carry out attacks against the NPRC government. "I want those agents of destruction to know that we know about them and if they do not stop their clandestine activities they will only have themselves to be blamed," Kanu said. He said he had asked the Liberian transitional government to stop the two groups from operating in Liberia.

NPRC leader Captain Valentine Strasser returned Monday night from an official visit to China.

13 October: A Sierra Leonean army officer has been arrested for robbing travellers under his protection in a military convoy to guard against attacks by bandits. Military authorities said on Thursday that Captain Allieu Turay would be brought to Freetown and court-martialed for stealing property from travellers along the Magburaka-Kono highway.