Letter: Sandline in Sierra Leone

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The Independent Online
Sir: News of Sandline's involvement in Sierra Leone has become so embroiled in political point-scoring that there is a danger of allowing hypocrisy and humbug to rule the day.

A year ago the world was virtually unanimous in wanting the Koroma regime out and President Kabbah reinstated. Anarchy reigned, but no western power would intervene militarily except to rescue its own citizens from the chaos. The President and Leader of the Opposition fled to exile.

If, as alleged, it was our High Commissioner who co-ordinated the efforts of Sandline and the Nigerians to successful effect, then he will surely have a much greater influence on good governance in Sierra Leone than if he had limited himself to giving cocktail parties in the bush for the exiles. The man deserves to be promoted, not pilloried.

The focus of any inquiry should be on ensuring that Sierra Leone's diamond- based economy has not been mortgaged unreasonably to either of the "liberators" and that in future mercenaries can be held internationally accountable for their actions in territories which lack effective government.

JOHN E TRICKS

Crediton, Devon

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