Area of Combat


This map shows the three countries involved in the conflict and their capitals – Sierra Leone (Freetown), Liberia (Monrovia) and Guinea (Conakry). The arrows show the route of the first attacks into Sierra Leone from Liberia in 1991. The arrows to the north are the first attacks on Kailahun District, and those to the south are the attacks on Pujehun District that took place a short time later. (click on the map to enlarge)

The rebels eventually spread throughout the country with help from Charles Taylor and his NPFL troops across the border in Lofa County and from his headquarters to the southeast in the town of Gbarnga. Charles Taylor continued fighting to take over Liberia after the attacks on Sierra Leone, and he became president of Liberia in 1997 which put him in a better position to supply arms to the Sierra Leonean rebels. This was when one of the well-known events of the war took place (at least for people in America and Europe) –Taylor giving diamonds to Naomi Campbell in South Africa while he was there arranging arms shipments.

At the tip of the “parrot’s beak” in the far east of Kailahun District, across the border in Guinea is the town of Gueckedou. The rural area around the town is where Ebola was first seen in 2014. Gueckedou and the town of Kissidougou to the north were involved in the war when an anti-Taylor group headquartered there attacked Liberia to overthrow Charles Taylor, and the Sierra Leonean rebels and Kamajor civil defense forces entered Guinea to take part in the fighting on opposing sides. Two of the narratives in the book describe this fighting–one from the rebel side and another from a civilian who was living in a refugee camp near Gueckedou.