Revolutionary United Front (RUF)
Revolutionary United Front (RUF) is a loosely organized guerrilla force seeking to retain control of the lucrative diamond-producing regions of Sierra Leone. The group funds itself largely through the extraction and sale of diamonds obtained in areas of Sierra Leone that it controls. During 2001, reports of serious abuses by the RUF declined significantly. The resumption of the government's Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration program in May was largely responsible. From 1991 to 2000, the group used guerrilla, criminal, and terror tactics, such as murder, torture, and mutilation, to fight the government, intimidate civilians, and keep U.N. peacekeeping units in check. In 2000, they held hundreds of U.N. peacekeepers hostage until their release was negotiated, in part, by the RUF's chief sponsor, Liberian president Charles Taylor. The group also has been accused of attacks in Guinea at the behest of President Taylor.
RUF's strength is estimated at several thousand supporters and sympathizers who operate in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. A UN experts panel report on Sierra Leone asserted that President Charles Taylor of Liberia provided support and leadership to the RUF. The UN has identified Libya, Gambia, and Burkina Faso as conduits for weapons and other materiel for the RUF.
█ FURTHER READING:
CDI (Center for Defense Information), Terrorism Project. CDI Fact Sheet: Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. March 27, 2003. < http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/terrorist.cfm > (April 17, 2003).
Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook, 2002. < http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ > (April 16, 2003).
Taylor, Francis X. U.S. Department of State. "Patterns of Global Terrorism 2001," Annual Report: On the record briefing. May 21, 2002 < http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/rm/10367.htm > (April 17, 2003).
U.S. Department of State. Annual reports. < http://www.state.gov/www/global/terrorism/annual_reports.html > (April 16, 2003).