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Revolutionary United Front

The Revolutionary United Front (RUF), an infamously brutal guerrilla unit in Sierra Leone, sought to create instability in the region and overthrow the government. Formed in 1990, the group later financed itself through control of the country's diamond resources, and for 11 years carried out extremely violent attacks on civilians that are said to have claimed about 50,000 lives. The group was especially notorious for recruiting children into its ranks and its practice of raping women and girls and dismembering its victims. As of 2002, U.N. military efforts had disabled the group and restored peace in Sierra Leone.

RUF's roots date back to the early 1990s. Foday Sankoh was a former student activist who in the 1970s had spent time in exile in Libya, where he came under the philosophical influence of Muammar el-Qaddafi. While in Liberia in 1991, Sankoh aligned himself with ...

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