The Christian Science Monitor

In Sierra Leone-UK mining case, a new attempt to measure the arm of the law

Fatamata Dabo once farmed rice and vegetables on this land outside Kemedugu, Sierra Leone. Some villagers allege that iron tailings from the mine poisoned local water sources. Source: James Courtright

“When the police came they did not ask, they did not inform the people,” remembers Fadda Kargbo, a farmer whose village is tucked into the verdant Sula Mountains of northern Sierra Leone. “They just started firing.”

On that day in November 2010, the brutal civil war had been over for eight years – ushering in a surge in foreign investment, from mining to industrial farms. Home to some of the world’s largest iron ore deposits, more than 200 square kilometers of Sierra Leone had been leased to African Minerals Limited (AML), a London-based multinational. But talks over plans for AML to build a dam near their mine in Mr. Kargbo’s village, Kemedugu, turned heated, with many locals refusing to consent.

Yet a few days later, they say, farmers woke to bulldozers uprooting their crops. The conflict escalated, with residents setting up

Complex legal landscape

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