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Residents of Sierra Leone Fear Government Corruption


After being deployed in Sierra Leone for five years, UN peacekeeping forces are preparing to pull out. Despite the end of the war, residents are plagued by poverty, government graft and unemployment.

In Sierra Leone, most of the people are poor and unable to find work. Residents in Freetown, the capital, are living without running water or electricity.

Young people, angry about the conditions, blame the government for siphoning off post-war aid.

But Septimus Kai Kai, Sierra Leone's Information Minister, denies that corruption is the problem. "It is easy to pick on Sierra Leone and say, 'corruption is in Sierra Leone,' but I am sure where you come from, there is some level of corruption also. It is ubiquitous."

In the midst of poverty, joblessness and accusations of government corruption, an underground music movement is growing.

Led by King Fisher, a music producer, young people are venting their frustrations through music. "It is like things are at a standstill, or moving backwards, and for every government official you speak to, they will tell you, 'Oh you know, we are just coming from war.' Two years, four years, we are just coming from war. No."

Throughout Sierra Leone, King Fisher's music is played on car radios and in cafes. One of his songs, "Bobo Belle," is a direct commentary on the corruption of the government.

The United Nations peacekeepers are planning to leave later this year. While some are happy to see them leave, others worry about the troops' departure. They say the absence of a peacekeeping force, will mean a security gap; a bad mix with poverty and anger.

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