A war on women; West Africa’s conflicts are officially over, but rape, brutality and terror continue

February 25, 2008 • Côte d’Ivoire, News

Greetings from a war zone that’s not Iraq. And not Afghanistan either.

I’m checking in from West Africa, where I’ve been working with women in three neighboring countries, all recently torn apart by civil wars: Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.

Surely you remember these conflicts. Liberia’s war came in three successive waves, lasting from 1989 to 2003. Sierra Leone’s war started in 1991 when guerrillas of the Revolutionary United Front of Sierra Leone, trained in Liberia, invaded their own country. The war drew many players and lasted a decade, until January 2002. In Ivory Coast, the civil war began in 2002 when northern rebels attempted a coup to oust President Laurent Gbagbo; after international intervention, a treaty was signed in 2003.

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