News24

UN delegation in S Leone for talks

2012-05-24 07:56

Freetown - A 15-member UN Security Council delegation paid a visit to Sierra Leone on Wednesday for talks with government on progress since the end of one of Africa's bloodiest conflicts a decade ago.

"We shall be discussing various issues including the post conflict situation, consolidation of the peace process as well as national reconciliation," Information Minister Ibrahim Kargbo told AFP.

"It will be a kind of review on what's going on in the country as the upcoming elections [November] are seen by the international community as a litmus test as to whether the peace process in Sierra Leone is on track."

Sierra Leone's war (1991-2002) left some 120 000 dead and hundreds amputated by various rebels groups, who used child soldiers and fought for control of the country's diamond mines.

The west African nation has moved on from the conflict which left it under-developed and deeply poor despite its mineral wealth, with high unemployment amongst the youth.

Former Liberian warlord-turned-president Charles Taylor was recently convicted for aiding and abetting the rebels in the neighbouring country, providing weapons in exchange for "blood diamonds". He will be sentenced on 30 May.

November polls will be the third since the end of the war and are seen as a key test of Sierra Leone's democracy.