RUF Listed in U.S. Report on Terrorism

The Perspective
May 8, 2001

In a recently released US State Department report on terrorism, "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2000", Africa is said to have experienced an increase in the number of terrorist attacks against foreign nationals. According to the report, these attacks, which are associated with an ongoing civil war, have been carried out mostly by rebel movements and opposition groups in furtherance of their political, social and economic objectives.

"Africa in the year 2000 witnessed an increase in the number of terrorist attacks against foreigners or foreign interests - part of a 'growing trend' in which the number of international terrorist incidents or the continent has risen steadily each year since 1995."

In an overview of various African states where terrorism has become commonplace, the report pointedly cites the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) - the rebel movement noted for its egregious trademark such as the chopping of hands, raping of women, and conscripting children into their rebel army, and supported by the Taylor regime in Liberia - as also being responsible for carrying out "high-profile" terrorist attacks against foreign interests.

"Sierra Leone's warring factions carried out more high-profile terrorist attacks against foreign interests in 2000 than in 1999, killing and kidnapping United Nations Assistance Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), peacekeepers, foreign journalists, and humanitarian aid workers.

"The most violent attacks occurred in May when Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels resorted to terrorism in an effort to force out UN peacekeepers who had arrived to replace a regional peacekeeping force (ECOMOG). In those attacks, RUF militiamen killed five UN peacekeepers and kidnapped some 500 others - most of whom were later released. The RUF is believed responsible for shooting down a UN helicopter and killing two foreign journalists - including one US citizen - in May. Armed militants kidnapped two British aid workers on 9 May and released them a month later."

The RUF is expected to suffer severe setbacks as the result of UN sanctions imposed on Liberia yesterday.

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