UK personnel remain in Sierra Leone and in the Naval ships in the area to provide training to the Sierra Leone government troops and as military observers to UNAMSIL.
Sierra Leone is an ex-British colony which gained independence in 1961 and has a population of 4.8 million. The current civil war started in 1991 and had by the end of last July (1999) claimed up to 50,000 lives. UN Forces are supposed to be overseeing peace and disarmament but the conflict continues
The Lome Agreement of July 1999 between the Sierra Leone government, led by President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, and the Revolutionary United Front, led by Foday Sankoh, attempted to end an eight-year civil war which killed an estimated 50,000 people and displaced half of the country's population. The United Nations was mandated to oversee the disarmament of the RUF and some 11,000 peacekeepers were allocated to assist UNAMSIL (the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone), of whom about 8,000 were present in the country.