Talk:Sierra Leone Civil War

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To avoid copyright issues:[edit]

This from source US State Department [1]

Links to Department sites are welcomed. Unless a copyright is indicated, information on the Department of State Web Site is in the public domain and may be copied and distributed without permission. Citation of the U.S. State Department as source of the information is appreciated.

This from source AFROL

Quoting "afrol News" as your source, you are hereby allowed to reproduce parts of that article. Regards, Rainer Chr Hennig, afrol News

  • But some of the supposed citations from the State Department aren't actually there. The 100,000 dead is not the State Department page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:10, 11 December 2008 (UTC)

Charles Taylor - scrupulous?[edit]

Could someone please explain why Charles Taylor was called a scrupulous faction leader? Is this a confusion with unscrupulous, or is Taylor scrupulous in some other way? Until someone can explain this, I am removing the adjective altogether. For the record, Wiktionary defines scrupulous as:

1. meticulous 2. having scruples or compunctions 3. having principles that guarantee scruples don't arise AidanBC 23:35, 29 March 2006 (UTC)

WPMILHIST Assessment[edit]

An excellent article, long, thorough, detailed, presumably accurate, and seemingly largely if not entirely unbiased - I'll admit, I skimmed, didn't read the whole thing.

  • I'm not quite sure what I think about the objectivity (i.e. the non-bias) of the opening paragraph. It seems to imply that the sole significant element of this conflict was its cost in human lives and in displacement of refugees. I think the introduction would be more balanced if it discussed, albeit briefly, the causes and effects of the war, in political and historical terms.
  • The section "Where are they now?" could probably benefit from being retitled. It's a simple and compelling chapter title, but not particularly academic or encyclopedic. "Activities of key figures in the aftermath of the civil war" or "Current activities and whereabouts of key actors", while clunky, might be better.
  • Also, please consolidate your references & bibliography. LordAmeth 20:31, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

Kabbah at TaRC[edit]

I'm taking out that Kabbah was unstatesmenlike. It seems a bit slanderous, and thus is in violation of the policy on biographical material on living persons (see WP:LIVING). Reading his opening speech, he seems sincerely interested in promoting peace and progress. [2]. Smmurphy(Talk) 02:50, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

citation template[edit]

I started going through the article citing sources for numbers and things like that and I got a bit overwhelmed. I agree that the article could use some lengthening, but for now, I was wondering: rather than putting the citation template, could we maybe put citation needed ({{fact}}) tags next to statements that are "likely to be contested" or wherever you think they are needed. Most of this stuff is fact-y type stuff that you can find in any history book (Hirsch works for almost all of it dated before 2000) or in BBC news articles. Do we really need each and every sentence cited? (P.S. sorry for the American spelling, which anon changed. My spell check is American, and I rarely know and never much care which words have alternate spellings.) Best, Smmurphy(Talk) 17:44, 31 May 2007 (UTC)

Sourcing every sentence would, of course, be disproportionate. But a topic of this nature is liable to be subject to diverging (often contradictory) interpretations and accounts, hence it is preferable that the article's content be verified using reliable sources; that would entail the extensive distribution of citations (albeit in moderation;-). Arbitrary numbers aside, compare this article with Algerian War and American Civil War). Examples such as "...the former president of Liberia, then a faction leader in Liberia's civil war — reportedly sponsored the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) as a means to destabilize Sierra Leone..." and "...Under Momoh, APC rule was increasingly marked by abuses of power..." logically require attribution. Your additions have certainly alleviated the article's citation problem, so I do support the replacement of {{unreferenced}} with the selective placing of {{fact}} tags. I must add, however, that the cites you introduced should be converted to <ref> format. SoLando (Talk) 08:05, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
I generally use footnotes (<ref> tag) for things that need some explanation in their citation, and Harvard-like style for short little citations. I'd be fine with using only footnotes, but I never know if I'm supposed to cite things over and over or <ref name=> and "cite footnote more than once" (which doesn't work when different page numbers are used). It would also be pretty easy to put ref tags around citations, as in the Johannes Kepler article WP:CITE mentions. I never care how things are referenced. Anyway, I'll keep working on finding citations. The lines you mentioned should be pretty easy to cite. Right now there isn't near as much depth in this article as in the ones you mentioned, so the facts aren't as liable to multiple interpretations yet. But as we get there, I agree that having a culture of citation around an article is key. Anyway, does the ref tag + extra bibliography make since, or do you prefer just the ref tag? Smmurphy(Talk) 19:57, 3 June 2007 (UTC)
Apologies if this (very late) reply is redundant. Yes, there is no provision stipulating a certain style of formatting - my previous remark merely revealed preferences ;-) I would suggest adopting that format, however, as Harvard-style (to me) appears quite cumbersome and clutters paragraphs in articles that require comprehensive sourcing. Incidentally, I invariably use <ref name=> only when attributing multiple facts to a single page, or when informations is encompassed by sequential pages; I invariably specify its relation to the material using an author and theme (e.g. <ref name="Hitsch Freetown">). But even with the guidance of the MoS, exercising discretion is advisable as how one utilises sources is inherently subjective. While the examples I presented are arguably elementary in the context of those familiar with the conflict (not even taking into account Taylor's war crime charges), it is still preferable to source them to pre-emptively resolve possible disputes and provide...."reassurance" to those learning about the conflict. Indeed, it is essential if this article is to ultimately attain a status of recognition from the community (A-class, GA, FA), as that trend is so evident at WP:FAC. Such hope is arguably premature, however, as there are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed before such a nomination can even be considered. Can I just assure you that I really don't gripe this often! ;-) And please refer to King's Regiment (Liverpool) for an example of my preferred format. By the way, I've just obtained Hirsch's book. Interesting. SoLando (Talk) 14:42, 21 June 2007 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. I like the style of the King's Regiment page you linked to. I hope you haven't taken my use of the Hirsch book as a recommendation. The book is pretty bland, to my taste. Its a bit short, and now out-of-date, but it is well respected and easy to leaf through, so its a good source for citations. Let me know if you have any ideas about how to make this page better, though. I made some heavy-ish contributions here a while ago, but my energy for it petered out... Best, Smmurphy(Talk) 21:23, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


"Lemon, the Governor-General (representing the British Monarch) declared Siaka Stevens—APC leader and Mayor of Freetown—as the new Prime Minister." Who is Lemon? I can't find anything out about anyone named that. Recury 17:51, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

No idea, here is the List of Governors-General of Sierra Leone, no Lemon. I think the section needs some rework. Perhaps such early events belong more in the history of Sierra Leone article, as it came a generation before the civil war itself. The again... Smmurphy(Talk) 23:51, 2 July 2007 (UTC)
Now that I look through the history, someone just changed the word "Accordingly" to "Lemon" as part of a series of vandalisms. Also, most of the section on the civil war itself is copied verbatim from here. Recury 18:56, 3 July 2007 (UTC)


I tried to upload a new picture for the thumbnail on the right. I failed. Sorry for vandalizing the page. But more importantly, I will be working on this page in earnest the next couple of stay tuned for some updates.IR393.sae211 (talk) 21:31, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

No problem. I fixed the map - I put in the new map you uploaded, but you need to add information about the image at the image's upload page here . BTW, that wasn't "vandalism". Vandalism is when you destroy something on purpose. That was just a technical editing error. Good luck with your work on the article. Best regards! -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:28, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

In-line references needed[edit]

This article does not have adequate in-line citations to sources. See WP:CITE for instructions on how to use references in Wikipedia. Generally, there should be at least one citation per paragraph. Without in-line references, it is difficult to assess the reliability of the information. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 06:31, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

That's a start. -- Ssilvers (talk) 06:56, 22 December 2010 (UTC)


Most of the references are here now - just need a dozen more. I have increased the assessment to C-class, but I don't know how to fix the MILHIST banner. -- Ssilvers (talk) 03:07, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

formatting of dates[edit]

Hi fellow contributors, I am a new editor and I've been kind of obsessing about this entry lately so I have done a bunch of edits. Just realized that in my zeal I've been erroneously changing dates from Euro style to U.S. style so I apologize. Will change them all back to Euro style next time I am on if no one has done it by then. I also want to say I only just realized that this was a student's project so I apologize for stepping on any toes if I made changes to your work, IR393.sae211. Choozy78 (talk) 13:03, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Hi Choozy. The student has turned in the project to the professor, so I suspect that he is taking a break from the article. Also, the classes involved in the project understand that other editors will edit the students' work. That is how Wikipedia works. Yes, please do change the dates back to Euro style. It seems to me that you are doing a good job of moving this article forward. The most important thing is to add citations to WP:Reliable sources, if you can, where it says "citation needed". Thanks for your help - it's great to see enthusiastic new editors! -- Ssilvers (talk) 16:13, 24 December 2010 (UTC)

Excellent work, Choozy! -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:25, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

Links to main articles[edit]

I didn't put these links in, but if you want to delete any of them, please explain why they are not helpful. Those articles have, or will have, more background that could be helpful to the reader. Thanks for discussing before deleting. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 00:14, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

In the case of the "resource curse" I thought it would read more smoothly if incorporated into the section itself. The section title was "the resource curse" but the expression wasn't explained or defined anywhere in the body of the section itself. Once I had incorporated its definition into the body of the section in a sentence, including a link to its wikipedia entry, it didn't seem to be necessary to have it listed as a "main article" under the section heading as well. Sorry I should have put a comment in when I edited that section. Choozy78 (talk) 07:39, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks. That makes sense in this case, and your addition of the explanation was good, but you also needed to add a citation to a source. I added one for you, but check it to see if you have a better one. Two other editors deleted the links in other sections, but I put one of them back where I felt that the link to the main article might be helpful. -- Ssilvers (talk) 15:50, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

The source citation for "resource curse" that you added was fine, thanks for that. Choozy78 (talk) 20:54, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

FYI, be careful of bad links. NPRC, for example, links to an unrelated article. -- Ssilvers (talk) 23:24, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Great new refs. Just a note that you normally don't need three or more refs for one proposition. Usually, you should just pick the best one or two, unless there is a special reason why you need to have more refs for the sentence. All the best, -- Ssilvers (talk) 23:33, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

I am working on an NPRC article on my user page so I'll relink it when it's up. Each reference refers to a difference piece of info in that sentence. I will look back and see if I can separate out one of the points into a new sentence if necessary. Choozy78 (talk) 01:33, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

By the way Ssilvers I agree with you that the Abidjan Peace Accord link to main article should not have been cut Choozy78 (talk) 07:24, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Liberian Civil War[edit]

The biggest flaw in the article as it stands (apart from the "citations needed" that I am ploughing through) is the inadequate acknowledgment of the connection between the Sierra Leone civil war and the Liberian Civil War. I'm hoping to work up a section on that and put it under the "causes of war" section. Choozy78 (talk) 01:14, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Looking forward to seeing it. Thanks! -- Ssilvers (talk) 01:34, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

shortening of names of agreements[edit]

In regard to your correcting "Abidjan mandated that...", Buckshot06, I don't think it needs to be reverted back (and I was not the one who wrote it that way originally) but just wanted to mention that writers do sometimes refer to peace agreements, conferences etc. by their shortened form (including just the name of the city in which they occurred) when it's clear from the context that that is what is being referred to. eg. The Fourth World Conference on Women which took place in Beijing in 1995 is often referred to in shorthand as "Beijing" in articles about the progress of women's rights "since Beijing." Whoever wrote it even made the link on the word "Abidjan" link directly to Abidjan Peace Accord. Anyway your fix was fine too but just wanted to mention this. Choozy78 (talk) 18:29, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I'll agree with Buckshot on this one. What Choozy says is true, but I think it needs to be very clear, since we are writing for a general audience, rather than for the political history crowd. I am not familiar with this stuff, and I found the short form jarring, even though it is linked. Sometimes we can do a service for our readers by simplifying the terminology that is familiar and convenient to readers of specialist sources. Just my 2 cents, though. -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:13, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

I thought the change was fine and it made sense, but I just wanted to mention that it's not an "error" strictly-speaking, but a style choice. Choozy78 (talk) 23:33, 28 December 2010 (UTC)

Oh, yes, definitely just a style choice (see also WP:MOS for our general style guidelines). It is hard, when editing collaboratively online, to convey to people the tone of what you mean. If you see an edit summary that looks a little insensitive, or whatever, it is good to assume that the person meant it in the best possible light. So, in this case, I'm sure that what Buckshot meant was that the change reflected her or his understanding of our usual style in these matters. By assuming this, it makes interactions more positive and saves a lot of worry. All the best! -- Ssilvers (talk) 05:54, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks guys. I am very well aware that 'Rio' can refer to the Earth Summit or 'Yalta' to (Yalta Conference). But Ssilvers writes the reason why I made the change - not everyone knows this kind of stuff. For the same reason, we ought to be very careful about our use of abbreviations, and even consider using the full form a second time half way down a really long article. But in general, this is a fantastic expansion using good sources on a underappreciated topic; great work guys. You may be interested to look at one of my prize articles, Armed Forces of Liberia, and if you've got spare time, National Patriotic Front of Liberia could probably use expansion as well. Happy holidays!! Buckshot06 (talk) 19:04, 30 December 2010 (UTC)


Thanks to Choozy's research, we are down to six "citation needed" tags. I'm promoting the article to B-class. -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:21, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Yay, party! Glad I could help out. Choozy78 (talk) 22:34, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Message from Military History Project talk page[edit]

Hi. I am copying this message that I saw about this article over at the talk page for the WP:Military history project.

It's a great expansion - really helpful. I've been doing a lot of work on Military of Sierra Leone and you may find useful material there too. Can you explain the 'Sobels' better please? What exact links did they have with the rebels? Buckshot06 (talk) 23:28, 26 December 2010 (UTC)

I think it would be super if you two discuss these items here. I don't have much to contribute in this area. Choozy, if you have any questions about Wikipedia editing, in general, please don't hesitate to ask me on my talk page. Happy editing! -- Ssilvers (talk) 22:41, 29 December 2010 (UTC)

Thanks Ssilvers and thanks for your advice and tips so far. Hi Buckshot06, basically during the civil war things got rather murky and members of the Sierra Leone Army started playing both sides. As for the specifics of the links, well, they ranged from soldiers simply "acting like" rebels and then blaming them (eg. looting villages and disguising their activities as those of the RUF), to actually coordinating with and collaborating with the RUF (eg. deliberately withdrawing from defended areas, leaving pre-arranged resources, ammunitions etc. for the RUF). From everything I've read about "sobels" so far they weren't so much an organized force as individuals or groups acting opportunistically in the rural areas. Choozy78 (talk) 23:22, 29 December 2010 (UTC)
Thanks Choozy. Your work on this article has been really good. For my PhD research I have been perpherially looking at the question of why warlords hit their 'own' civilians, and I see you've linked an article on the subject. Do you have a copy of 'Azam, Jean-Paul (2006). "On Thugs and Heroes: Why Warlords Victimize Their Own Civilians". Economics of Governance 7: 53–73?' Is it possible to e-mail it to me? You can contact me via the EmailThisUser button on the left hand of my userpage. Kind regards from New Zealand, Buckshot06 (talk) 21:13, 30 December 2010 (UTC)
Hi Buckshot06, I have emailed you. Cheers, Choozy78 (talk) 00:10, 31 December 2010 (UTC)


Hey All,

I'm very impressed with the changes and improvements that have been made to this page since I last visited. Just as month ago, this page was little more than an ill-informed cribbing from a State Department website. Best of luck editing! --IR393.sae211 (talk) 16:43, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Hi, Sae. Your rewrite of the article was extremely valuable, not only for the new content and reference that you added, but also, it provided an excellent framework for other editors to continue to improve and refine the document. Well done! -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:21, 6 January 2011 (UTC)
Yes, we could not have done it without your excellent foundations IR393.sae211! I got really into it over the December/January new year but I am now busy at work again, I hope to do some more work on it when I next have some time, Jun/July. Choozy78 (talk) 23:31, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Chopping off hands[edit]

Why does this article not treat the RUF tactic of amputations? Abductive (reasoning) 21:11, 2 April 2011 (UTC)