University of South Carolina

Reporting from West Africa

What I Did This Summer: West Africa


West Africa

With long histories of political instability and civil war, Liberia and Sierra Leone presented Bowers with issues and situations he had never experienced.

Liberia’s social unrest began in 1980 when a coup overthrew the current ruler. By the late-1980s, economic collapse sparked the country’s ruinous civil war when the Patriotic Front of Liberia militia invaded the capital of Monrovia. Fighting among Liberian rebel groups continued for the next two decades with brief periods of fragile peace as militia groups supported emerging rebel movements in Sierra Leone. These Sierra Leone rebels later become known for inflicting severe physical punishments, such as hacking off the hands and feet of civilian women and children. 

The United Nations is credited with bringing more stable governments to the two countries, but peace remains strained in Liberia and Sierra Leone as both nations struggle with the turmoil their wars have left behind.  


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