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Sierra Leone

First civil war and then Ebola: a visit to a ravaged country

date of entry 05/03/2013
mileage 839,899

capital Freetown

area 71.740 km²

population 5.612.685

GDP 1.664 M. US-Dollar

official language English

When the Holtorfs were travelling through West Africa for the first time in the 1990s, a dreadful civil war was taking place in Sierra Leone. Rebel troops from Liberia led by the warlord Charles Taylor made repeated brutal attacks on the tiny country. Executions, mass amputations and dreadful abuse were commonplace and child soldiers were recruited on a large scale. The war was financed by the illegal trade in conflict diamonds. During Gunther Holtorf’s second tour of Africa in 2013, he had the opportunity to visit the country, which is now at peace. The Ebola epidemic that broke out only a year later would have made it impossible for him to go there.
  • Otto was generally parked somewhere in the bush.
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  • In 2013, he could finally travel to Sierra Leone. In the 1990s, Sierra Leone was ravaged by civil war. For this reason, Gunther Holtorf was only able to visit the country after the death of his wife. He travelled with their friend Elke Dreweck.
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  • After years of war, the capital Freetown had a run-down look.
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  • On the beach are the small boats belonging to fishermen who venture out into the Atlantic.
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  • The private minibuses were crammed full of people and heavily overloaded.
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  • The same applied to the trucks, which were often used to transport people.
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  • Otto crossed a river on an improvised ferry.
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  • Tidy places to spend the night, like this one with a garden fence, shady tree and sleepy dogs, were the exception rather than the rule.
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  • Video: Sierra Leone – the country of breathtaking beaches