Sierra Leone

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1787  British abolitionists and philanthropists establish a settlement in Freetown for repatriated and rescued slaves. English ships transported some 38,000 slaves during that  year

1808  Freetown settlement became a crown colony.

1896  Britain set up a protectorate over the Freetown hinterland.

1954  Sir Milton Margai, leader of the Sierra Leone People's Party was appointed chief minister.

1961  Sierra Leone became independent.

1967  A military coup deposed Premier Siaka Stevens' government.

1968  Siaka Stevens returned to power at the head of a civilian government following another military coup.

1971  Sierra Leone was declared a republic, Siaka Stevens became the  executive president.

1978  A new constitution proclaimed Sierra Leone a one-party state with the All People's Congress as the sole legal party.

1985  Major-General Joseph Saidu Momoh became president following Siaka Stevens's retirement.

1987  Joseph Momoh declared state of economic emergency.

1991  Saw the start of civil war. Former army corporal Foday Sankoh and his Revolutionary United Front (RUF) began a campaign against President Momoh, capturing towns along the border with Liberia.

September 1991  A new constitution providing for a multiparty system was adopted.

1992  President Joseph Momoh was ousted in military coup led by Captain Valentine Strasser, apparently frustrated by his failure to deal with the  rebels in the country. Under international pressure, Captain Strasser announced plans for the first multi-party elections held since 1967.

January 1996 Captain Strasser was ousted in a military coup led by his defence minister, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio.

February 1996 Ahmad Tejan Kabbah was elected president and  signs a peace accord with Sankoh's rebels in November.

May 1997  A peace deal was announced while  President Kabbah was deposed by the army. Major Johnny Paul Koroma, who at the time was supposed to be in prison awaiting the outcome of a treason trial, lead the military junta, that consisted of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC). Major Koroma suspended the constitution banning demonstrations and abolished political parties. Leaving Kabbah to flee to Guinea to mobilise international support.

July 1997  The British Commonwealth suspended Sierra Leone.

October 1997  The United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions against Sierra Leone, banning the supply of arms and petroleum products. A British company known as Sandline  ignored the ban with supplies of  what they called logistical support, that included rifles, to Kabbah and his allies.

February 1998  The Nigerian-led West African intervention force Ecomog stormed Freetown and drove out the  rebels.

March 1998 Kabbah made a triumphant return to Freetown amid scenes of public rejoicing.

January 1999  The Rebels backing the Revolutionary United Front leader Foday Sankoh seized parts of Freetown from Ecomog. After weeks of bitter fighting they were driven out, leaving behind 5,000 dead and a devastated city.

May 1999  A ceasefire was greeted with cautious optimism in Freetown amid hopes that eight years of civil war may soon be over.

July 1999  Six weeks of talks in the Togolese capital Lome, resulted in a peace agreement, under which the rebels received posts in government and assurances that they will not be prosecuted for war crimes.

November/December 1999 United Nations troops arrived to police the peace agreement,  but one rebel leader, Sam Bokari said they were not welcome. Meanwhile, Ecomog troops were attacked outside Freetown.

April/May  2000 United Nations forces came under attack in the east of the country, but far worse is in store when for the first 50, when several hundred UN troops were abducted.

May 2000  The Rebels closed in on Freetown, 800 British paratroopers were sent to Freetown to evacuate British citizens and to help secure the airport for UN peacekeepers, and the  rebel leader Foday Sankoh was captured.

August 2000  Eleven British soldiers were taken hostage by a renegade militia group called the West Side Boys.

September 2000  British forces mounted an operation to rescue the remaining British hostages.

January 2001 The Government postponed presidential and parliamentary elections, that were set for February and March, because of continuing insecurity in the country.

March 2001  United Nations troops were deployed for  the first time, in rebel-held territory.

May 2001  The disarmament of rebels began, and the British-trained Sierra Leone army started deployment in rebel-held areas.

January 2002  The war declared over. United Nations mission reported that the disarmament of 45,000 fighters was completed. Government and UN agreed to set up a war crimes court.

May 2002  Kabbah won a landslide victory in the elections. His Sierra Leone People's Party secured a majority in parliament.

July 2002  British troops left Sierra Leone after their two-year mission to help end the civil war.

July 2003  Rebel leader Foday Sankoh died of natural causes while waiting to be tried for war crimes.

August 2003  President Kabbah told the truth and reconciliation commission that he had no say over operations of pro-government militias during the war.

February 2004  Disarmament and rehabilitation of more than 70,000 civil war combatants was officially completed.

March 2004  The United Nations backed war crimes tribunal opened a courthouse to try senior militia leaders from both sides of civil war.

May 2004  The first local elections were held in more than three decades.

June 2004  War crimes trials began.

September 2004  The United Nations handed control of security in the capital over to the local forces.

August 2005  The United Nations Security Council authorised the opening of a UN assistance mission in Sierra Leone, to follow the departure of peacekeepers from the country.

December 2005  The last United Nations peacekeeping troops left Sierra Leone, marking the end of a five-year mission to restore order in the country.

March 2006  Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor was arrested in Nigeria and handed over to the war crimes court in Sierra Leone which indicted him.

December 2006  President Kabbah said that  90% of the country's $1.6bn (£815m) debt had been written off after negotiations with international creditors.

June 2007  Saw the  start of former Liberian president Charles Taylor's war crimes trial in The Hague, where he stood accused of instigating atrocities in Sierra Leone.
Sierra Leone's special war crimes court in Freetown delivered its first verdicts, finding three militia leaders guilty.

August 2007  Presidential and parliamentary polls took place. Ernest Bai Koroma won the presidency and his All People's Congress, formerly in opposition, won a majority in parliament.

January 2008  The former Liberian president Charles Taylor's war crimes trial in The Hague resumed after a six-month delay.

August 2008  Local elections were marred by violence between the supporters of the two main parties.

April 2009  Three former senior leaders of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) were sentenced to long jail terms for civil war atrocities.

October 2009  The United Nations backed Special Court wound down after seven years investigating civil war atrocities. Its remaining case, while the trial of Charles Taylor, continued in The Hague.

May 2010  The head of the anti-corruption commission quit.

September 2010  The United Nations Security Council lifted the last remaining sanctions against Sierra Leone, an arms embargo and a travel ban for rebels.

April 2011  Sierra Leone marked and celebrated 50 years of independence from Britain.



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