Briefing from ROAPE Volume 20 Number 56
Sierra Leone: Coup and its Consequences
On 29 April 1992, a section of the Sierra Leone military toppled the ‘new order’ regime of President Joseph Momoh. Momoh's replacement as head of state was Captain Valentine Strasser, a 27 year old soldier who had been fighting against domestic rebels and Liberian incursions in the south and east of the country. The coup, and its consequences, are contrary to recent trends in other African policies, where at least partial democratisation is the norm. It negated the demands of the Sierra Leonean people for a more responsive political system, and seemed to echo an earlier era - the Ghana of the late 1970s. As the regime has become more authoritarian, it has run into difficulties with domestic and external critics of its human rights record. The speedy execution after a summary military trial in December 1992 of 26 junior army officers, policemen, former politicians and ordinary civilians accused in two alleged conspiracies against Strasser's government was unprecedented in Sierra Leonean history.