Atrocities, Diamonds and Diplomacy: The Inside Story of the Conflict in Sierra Leone

By Peter Penfold

In early 1997 Peter Penfold, arrived in Sierra Leone because the British excessive Commissioner. This attention-grabbing publication describes not only his eventful three-year travel however the history and next occasions that positioned this small nation on the middle of the realm stage.During his travel, he chanced on himself as correct hand guy to the country's beleaguered President Kabbah. as a result of insurgent activities, together with surprising atrocities, the writer needed to not just evacuate the foreign neighborhood (twice) yet was once pressured out himself. now and then, he flew in day-by-day from British warships, because the scenario used to be dangerously unstable.We learn the way shortly after being praised through major Minister Tony Blair for his pivotal position in getting this as soon as wealthy state again on its toes, he chanced on himself less than Customs and Excise research and Parliamentary Committee scrutiny for his intended position within the 'Arms for Africa' Enquiry. whereas reprimanded by means of the FCO, he was once feted and made a Paramount leader by way of the Sierra Leone people.He describes how, after his travel was once lower brief regardless of his and the host Government's appeals, the placement back deteriorated. He provides a hugely educated account of the next occasions together with the SAS Operation BARRAS - the rescue of the British army hostages. it is a vitally important account in accordance with the main privileged wisdom.

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I stated so long to the others – Colin and Ruth and their youngsters, Andrew and Rachel, who have been so excited on the considered spending Christmas one final time in Freetown. Now they didn't even be aware of the place they might spend Christmas. additionally, Alison and Graham, who were looking ahead to their first Christmas in Sierra Leone. I felt relatively sorry for Alisdair as he acknowledged see you later to Erie, his new spouse. This used to be to were their first Christmas jointly and now she used to be going by myself to Britain, the place she had no relatives or pals. Alisdair and that i and the shut safety group drove again to the compound feeling very depressing because the helicopter took off. purely fifty contributors of the group had heeded the recommendation to go away. such a lot weren't ready to think that the location warranted one of these surprising departure; many others had now not been contactable within the little while to be had or had now not heard the bulletins. It used to be assumed that folks will be evacuated to the united kingdom, yet on the final minute we have been knowledgeable that the RAF flights wouldn't be returning to the united kingdom yet might sell off the passengers in Dakar, Senegal. Our colleagues within the embassy in Dakar needed to prove to seem after the evacuees from Freetown, few of whom have been ready for a remain in Senegal. that they had no pals there, no visas and little funds. such a lot stuck flights to Paris. whilst Celia arrived at Charles de Gaulle Airport on Christmas Day with parrots, the French officers wouldn't permit her board the connecting flight to Heathrow with them. She refused to depart the parrots on the mercy of the French specialists. She flew directly to long island. officers again in London have been shocked on the low variety of Brits who had taken half within the evacuation. We attempted to give an explanation for that with out signal of any disturbances in Freetown, most folk, together with contributors of the neighborhood, felt that the choice to reserve the last of the undertaking and the whole evacuation of the group was once an overreaction. They have been used to threats from the rebels, which hardly got here to fruition and not on the time indicated. This used to be West Africa, the place every little thing took longer than anticipated. London made up our minds to ship the 2 RAF planes again to Freetown the following day to select up from now on Brits who needed to depart. The planes flew into Lungi back on Christmas Day. there has been not anyone to choose up. They flew again to Dakar empty. whereas the folks of Freetown celebrated Christmas, we spent the day within the workplace attempting to convey a few order to the chaos attributable to the surprising departure of the employees and households. I informed Osman on the place of dwelling to move forward and cook dinner the turkey and within the afternoon these people who remained went as much as the place of dwelling and tucked right into a hasty Christmas dinner. It was once a sombre Christmas social gathering yet not less than we have been getting one, which used to be greater than those that have been flown out the day before today. As I climbed into mattress that evening I had infrequently felt so depressing. Celia’s and my presents remained below the Christmas tree. I had now not felt like beginning mine by myself.

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