Global Policy Forum

Britain Plans Troop Positioning

October 30, 2000

Plans are advanced to send more British troops to Sierra Leone after requests from the United Nations, the BBC reported. HMS Ocean, a helicopter carrier assault ship with 500 soldiers from 42 Royal Marine Commando, is expected to be ordered into Sierra Leonean waters escorted by two other warships and support vessels, BBC said on Saturday. Despite pressure for a direct British military role in combating the RUF, the BBC said, Defence Ministry sources in London say the troops would remain offshore as a rapid reaction element if needed.

British Defence Minister Baroness Symons announced increased British aid to Sierra Leone on 10 October. She told the House of Lords that if necessary, Britain was ready to deploy up to a brigade (5,000 personnel) from its Joint Rapid Reaction Force. In a memorandum signed with the UN in 1999, Britain undertook to make this force available to support UN peacekeeping operations. The move to send British troops follows decisions by India and Jordan to withdraw their troops from the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL. That measure has sent the UN searching for troop-contributing countries.

Britain has been providing basic training to the new Sierra Leonean army since June. Defence Secretary Geoffrey Hoon has said that London would also provide high-level operational advice.

RUF engaging Guinea

Close to half the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) fighters in Sierra Leone's eastern area of Tongo have moved north and are "fully engaged" in military operations in Guinea, OCHA said its situation report for 3-27 October. However, OCHA said the Guinean army had over the past two weeks successfully countered the rebel attacks. In addition, during the time of review, it said Guinean troops bombed RUF positions in Kambia District.

RUF, CDF harass civilians

On 13 October, civilians from Kortimaw Island (48 km north of Freetown) reported that 21 RUF fighters from the mainland locations of Balansera and Kassiri (4 km and 6 km northeast of the island) looted the village of Matonok and raped two women.

Civilians have also been harassed by the pro-government Civil Defence Forces in Mile 91, east of Freetown. OCHA said that in one incident on 4 October the CDF commander, Pa Musa Sera, left Freetown for Mile 91 to arrest 17 CDF "imposters" who had been extorting money from civilians.

The CDF in the eastern town of Kenema has also been training a new group of fighters called the Territorial Defence Force. This follows reports of a demonstration on 10 October by 200 former CDF fighters who were demanding their demobilisation pay.

More Information on Sierra Leone


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.