The United Nations has ended an arms embargo and travel ban on Sierra Leone rebels who engineered the decade long conflict in the West African country that left more than 50,000 people dead and many more mutilated and raped.
The UN Security Council officially lifted sanctions against Sierra Leone on Wednesday following reports that the country had “fully-reestablished” control over all of its regions.
The UN praised the political efforts made by the authorities since the conflict ended in 2002.
The end to arm sanctions against Sierre Leone comes years after the UN helped disarm more than 75,000 ex-fighters.
“The situation in Sierra Leone continues to improve and the lifting of sanctions is another indicator of that positive trend,” Britain’s ambassador Mark Lyall-Grant was quoted by reporters.
“While challenges such as political intolerance, youth unemployment and drug trafficking endure, Sierra Leone has made tremendous progress with the strong support of the international community,” she added.
The United Nations peace mission in Sierra Leone will stay until September next year to counter corruption and to ensure “free and fair” national elections scheduled for 2012.
The confidence shown to the post-war government in Sierra Leone also comes after reports from the International Monetary Fund revealed that Increased diamond production is giving a major boost to the West African country’s economy.
According to economic experts, Sierra Leone’s diamond exports reached 35 million dollars in the first five months of 2010, a 25 percent increase from the same period in 2009.
Efforts to control diamond trafficking and illegal trading in diamonds have begun in the country.
UN troops were deployed in Sierra Leone in 1999 to end the civil war. But since 2006 efforts to build the peace have been political especially with the reduced military presence.