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Key events in Sierra Leone's history

Sierra Leone

• April 1961 -- Sierra Leone gains independence from Britain.

• April 1992 -- President Joseph Momoh ousted in a military coup after seven years in power.

• March 1996 -- Ahmad Tejan Kabbah of the Sierra Leone People's Party wins presidential election securing 60 percent of a run-off vote against John Karefa-Smart of the United National People's Party.

The military hands power to the civilian government.

• April 1996 -- The new government and the Revolutionary United Front, led by Foday Sankoh, agree to a ceasefire. Within a month, the RUF accuses the government of violating the truce, saying the army had moved closer to rebel positions.

• May 1997 -- Kabbah's government is overthrown in a military coup led by Major Johnny Paul Koroma. Kabbah flees to Guinea. The new ruling junta bans political parties.

• June 1997 -- Street clashes in the capital Freetown lead US marines to evacuate foreign civilians.

• October 1997 -- Economic sanctions imposed by other west African states prompt the military junta to agree to a peace deal which includes the later return of Kabbah to power.

• January 1998 -- Clashes begin in Freetown between soldiers loyal to the military junta and a Nigerian-led force, ECOMOG.

• February 1998 -- ECOMOG forces assume control of Freetown and eject the military junta.

• March 1998 -- Kabbah triumphantly returns to Sierra Leone to resume presidency.

• July 1998 -- The United Nations Security Council votes to send a military observer force to Sierra Leone following continuing clashes.

• December 1998 -- West African countries hold emergency talks on the escalating conflict in Sierra Leone, pushing for dialogue between Kabbah and rebels who are threatening to attack Freetown. More Nigerian-led troops arrive to assist in fighting the rebels as the U.S. closes down its embassy.

• January 1999 -- Rebels seize control of presidential State House and UN observers pull out of Freetown.

• July 1999 -- A peace agreement is reached involving power sharing with the rebels and the deployment of a UN peacekeeping force.

• November 1999 -- UN begins deployment of 6,000 peacekeepers amid criticism from rebels.

• April 2000 -- Rebels attack UN troops and begin taking hostages. More than 200 UN soldiers are captured over several weeks.

• May 2000 - Britain rushes 1,000 marines to Sierra Leone to prevent the fall of Freetown and to secure the city for UN peacekeepers.

• June 2000 -- With Freetown stable, Britain withdraws most of its marines but leaves a 200-strong group to help train the Sierra Leonean military.

• August 2000 -- A rebel group known as the West Side Boys takes hostage a group of 11 British soldiers and its local guide.



RELATED STORIES:
Hopes still high for release of British soldiers in Sierra Leone
The 'boys' spreading terror Sierra Leone
Britain searching for captured troops in Sierra Leone
U.N. peacekeepers under fire as they head to safety in Sierra Leone

RELATED SITES:
Sierra Leone on the Web
Sierra Leone Civil Defense Force
UNHCR Country Profiles - Sierra Leone
Amnesty International 1999 Annual Report on Sierra Leone
United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone

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