UK in Sierra Leone Mercenary Scandal

RAF Officer Advising Mercenaries Accused of Killing Civilians

The UK Government is under fierce criticism following revelations that British armed forces have been working with mercenaries in Sierra Leone. A British squadron leader has been working with British mercenary Neil Ellis, who has previously worked for mercenary companies Sandline International and Executive Outcomes. Ellis told ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company) that the RAF officer is here as an advisor, but he is basically running the place. A group of mercenaries including Ellis hired by the Sierra Leone government, have been accused of killing civilians in a Russian-built Mi-24 Attack helicopter. ABC cameramen filmed Ellis and his crew firing randomly at a village where rebels were believed to be holed up.

In July this year the UN Commission on Human Rights recommended a resolution curbing mercenary activity to the UN Economic and Social Council. The UK Government voted against the resolution.

Rachel Harford of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: Working with British armed forces, these mercenaries are effectively being used as a tool of foreign policy. This shows quite explicitly why the UK government is no closer to legislating against such human rights abusers.

Human Rights Watch reported as early as May and June this year that helicopter gunship attacks had caused civilian casualties and massive civilian displacement. Air attacks have taken place on numerous occasions on public places including crowded markets


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