Sierra Leone defies junta by refusing to go to work

The people of Sierra Leone showed their refusal to accept the military junta of Johnny Paul Koromah yesterday by refusing to go to work despite threats and reprisals.

The same determination that inspired the massive turn out in the elections last year, when the population disregarded mortar fire and rifle fire in order to vote, seems to have manifested itself again in the form of widespread civil disobedience.

The secretary general of the labour union in Freetown, Kandeh Yillah, made it plain to the junta that workers were not going to tolerate another military dictatorship, "as long as the military govenment remains in power then they [the labour union] will withhold the service of all Sierra Leonian workers until the democratic government is allowed to return," he said yesterday.

Another civic movement known as the Kamajors - which means hunter in the local dialect - are putting military pressure on the army/RUF alliance. Originally the Kamajors were the trible chieftains' personal bodyguard and the first line of defence against the RUF, who slaughtered the those chiefs who refused to assist or join them.

They later organised into much larger groups and were instrumental in forcing the RUF to the negotiating table in November 1996.

Although little more than organised tribal militias, they have proved to be an highly effective force and enjoy a cult-like status and popularity among the people.

They presently control most of the south and east of the country and are loyal to the overthrown democratic government of Abdul Tejan Kabbah, who is currently in exile in Guinea.

According to Ambassador Dinka, the UN special envoy in Sierra Leone, "not a single part of the society is supporting the RUF/Army alliance".

This is hardly surprising considering the barbaric atrocities committed by the RUF since 1991. High on mixtures of of marijuana and gunpowder they have murdered,and looted.

Their leader on the ground at present appears to be Major Mosquito, an individual who was demoted three times forby Soday Sankoh, the official leader of the RUF.

The army is similary reviled due to its suspected complicity in the past with the rebels in looting and murder sprees, a suspicion that was widely held and then comfirmed by the alliance formed between the two in the recent coup.

The RUF was useful to the army in other ways - such as providing them with the raison d'etre and providing the a scapegoat for their own criminal activities.

With the threat of military intervention by the Nigerians whose warships straddle the harbour and whose troops continue to reinforce their base at Lungi opposite the Freetown peninsula and internal dissention and revolt in-country.

Koromah's position is looking more and more untenable there is also a very real possibility that the junta is about to implode with rumours around Freetown of a growing split between Koromah and his supporters and the hard line RUF commanders.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas