Is it the Right Time for the International Community to Exit Sierra Leone?
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A glance at key indicators – in terms of growth forecast and stable elections – will project Sierra Leone as a model for a successful post-conflict state. However, a detailed analysis of the country’s socioeconomic trends, its political institutions and the logic and dynamics of violence show a more disturbing picture where Sierra Leone today shares similar conditions with the Sierra Leone before the outbreak of the civil war. Anger and frustration at the inequalities are again manifesting as violence, in the mining areas, on the streets and in universities and schools, at times manipulated by the very politicians who are supposed to serve and protect citizens. In addition, an externally imposed peace agreement that focused on ending the conflict, and disarming the population, has meant there have been few efforts to address any of the lingering animosity between ex-combatants and those who suffered during 11 years of war. Building peace, reconciliation and trust among the populace was a second-order priority.