n African Security Review - A study of peacekeeping, peace-enforcement and private military companies in Sierra Leone : features

Volume 16, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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The four military interventions into the conflict in Sierra Leone between 1995 and 2000 met with varying degrees of success. One of the more effective ones was launched by a private military company (PMC) early in the conflict. In the following paper a comparison is made between different aspects of the PMC intervention and the interventions by national military and by multilateral forces from regional and international organisations. The findings are that the interventions of the PMC and national forces were more successful due to their clear peace-enforcing mandate, unitary structure, elite counterinsurgency training, intelligence-gathering capabilities, relationship with the public, incentive to win as efficiently as possible and role as a force multiplier for local forces. The failure of multilateral peacekeeping forces in peace-enforcing roles suggests that small contingents of elite special forces, whether donated unilaterally by governments or hired in a competitive PMC market, are not only likely to be more effective in bringing violent conflict to a halt, but could at the same time be helpful in building the capacity, loyalty and professionalism of local militaries.

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