Sierra Leone is a human tragedy of massive proportions that is rapidly becoming a security nightmare for all West Africa. Two-thirds of Sierra Leone’s population have been displaced during the lengthy civil war. Another 600,000 have become refugees in neighbouring countries. The war is spilling over into Guinea, where heavy fighting since September 2000 threatens the collapse of the government and has already produced a massive, new refugee problem. In effect, Sierra Leone is now at the heart of a series of conflicts that risk forming an arc of violence from southern Senegal to the Ivory Coast.
Having published a series of reports on Sierra Leone from 1996 onwards, ICG established a ground presence in Freetown in July 2001.