Detectives have arrested a man on suspicion of war crimes carried out during the Sierra Leone civil war which ravaged the country and claimed more than 50,000 lives.
Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Team, part of the Counter Terrorism Command, detained a 42-year-old man on Tuesday as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations relating to atrocities that occurred during the conflict in the West African country between 1994 and 2000.
The man was arrested at an address in Leeds on suspicion of offences contrary to section 51 of the International Criminal Court Act 2001.
Police carried out a search of the property.
He was taken to a police station in Leeds and later released under investigation.
The Sierra Leone civil war began in March 1991 when the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), with support from the special forces of Charles Taylor‘s National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), intervened in Sierra Leone in an attempt to overthrow the Joseph Momoh government.
The resulting war lasted 11 years, enveloped the country, and left over 50,000 dead.
During the first year of the war, the RUF took control of large swathes of territory in eastern and southern Sierra Leone, which were rich in diamonds.
On 18 January 2002, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah declared the civil war over.