Where is the War? Explaining Peace in Sierra Leone

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Abstract

The Sierra Leone civil war of 1991-2002 has widely been regarded as stemming from the desperate political and socio-economic conditions that affected the country's youth. Following the end to hostilities, there has been great concern to address youth grievances as a means of consolidating peace and stability. There have been frequent warnings in UN, NGO and academic reports of the dangers of limited progress in this regard, and it has been suggested that persistent pre-war conditions are undermining ex-combatants' investment in peace and increasing risks of a return to conflict. However, since 2002 Sierra Leone has experienced relatively low levels of violence. This article seeks to make sense of this seemingly propitious outcome. Informed by interviews conducted with ex-combatants between 2008-2012, it argues that risks of a return to arms have been exaggerated. Nevertheless, economic and political conditions continue to reconnect ex-combatants with violence in the context of ‘peacetime.’
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)321-337
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2013

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