Revolutionary United Front (RUF) was a rebel army created by Foday Sankoh.
They fought a failed eleven-year war in Sierra Leone, started from 1991.
RUF promised to provide free education, health care and equitable sharing of diamond revenues.
But Sankoh didn’t keep his promise and used those funds to buy arms for RUF.
They forced young boys and girls to serve as soldiers or prostitutes.
Young soldiers were forced to murder their own parents before joining the army.
They frequently carved the initials “RUF” on their chests.
Soldiers also rubbed cocaine into open cuts to make them fearless.
Around 11,000 young boys had participated in the conflict.
In response to the government forces, the RUF started to cut off the hands of captured soldiers. RUF members are also said to have practiced cannibalism.
In 2000, they held 500 UN peacekeepers as hostages.
Indian and British Special Forces intervened and rescued those hostages.
The war ended causing some 70,000 casualties and 2.6 million displaced people.
Sankoh was captured by a mob. In 2003, he died in prison before his trial took place.
The RUF later developed into a political party which existed until 2007.
Top top leaders of RUF were later convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity.