The Call for Tough Arms Controls: Voices from Sierra Leone

Published: 9 January 2006

The recent Hollywood film Lord of War depicted an arms broker who did not care who bought his guns, as long as somebody was buying. He procured weapons and ammunition in Eastern Europe and sold them in conflict zones in Africa, including Sierra Leone and Liberia. He used false documents, and exploited every available loophole in the law.

For once, the screenwriters were not making it up. The character might have been fictional, but his activities and methods mirrored those of the real arms dealers who supplied the rebels in Sierra Leone throughout the brutal war that ended in 2002. What the film showed little of was the human cost of those arms deals.