Segments in this Video

Diamonds from Sierra Leone (03:46)


About $70 million worth of diamonds leave Sierra Leone each year. The majority are taken out by smugglers through Liberia and Guinea, so the war-torn country sees little of the profits. Ndola Myers, a former De Beers employee, is the government diamond valuer that checks the origin of diamonds to ensure they are not blood diamonds.

Corruption in Sierra Leone (01:19)

Weak borders between Liberia and Guinea allow raw materials, diamonds, and weapons to be smuggled easily. Foday Sankoh led the Revolutionary United Front over the Liberia boarder in 1991 and began the civil war with the goal of ending corruption and poverty. His rebel soldiers continue the mining areas in the east of the country.

Legal Mining in Sierra Leone (04:51)

Men mine for diamonds on government land near Freetown. Many of the miners are farmers, who were displaced during the war and cannot find other jobs. More than half of the population was displaced by the RUF rebels.

Brutality of the RUF (06:13)

Most Sierra Leoneans have been affected by the civil war in some way. The RUF used amputation to control and scare civilians. Many now live at a poorly funded amputee camp in Freetown.

Blood Diamonds and the RUF (04:22)

United Nations soldiers are working to broker a peace with RUF rebels in mineral-rich eastern Sierra Leone. The UN wants the RUF to disarm and participate in a new election. The RUF funds most of its operation through illegal mining and diamond smuggling.

RUF in Kono (08:27)

The RUF uses Kono District as a stronghold because of its diamond-rich mines. The once thriving capital city is in ruins. RUF Commander Maurice Kallon is concerned about the army's image as a force for good, despite the accusations of slave labor.

RUF and Diamond Trading (04:02)

The RUF's diamond wealth has run out and it cannot access the kimberlite mines, which would be more profitable. Diamond traders from Gambia and Senegal buy diamonds directly from the RUF in Kono District. RUF diamond traders say it is easy to sell or trade diamonds to corrupt government officials within Sierra Leone.

Selling Blood Diamonds (05:09)

Sierra Leone has a licensing system that is supposed to ensure blood diamonds are not sold, but it is easy to exploit. Many global diamond sellers do not ask too many questions about a diamond’s origins if they know their profit will be significant. Identifying diamonds is more subjective than scientific.

Sierra Leone's Diamond Situation (05:18)

Albert Benjie is one of the few Sierra Leonean diamond valuers, who want the industry to start benefiting his country. He is hoping to cut back corruption and create better conditions for miners.

Credits: Blood Diamonds (00:39)

Credits: Blood Diamonds

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Blood Diamonds

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Diamonds are big business—the retail trade is worth more than $30 billion annually. But many of the stones are dubious in origin, coming from African countries immersed in civil wars. They are known as "blood diamonds"—sold by rebels and governments to fund their military campaigns. Sierra Leone once exported millions of dollar's worth of gems every year. Most of them were smuggled, sold by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF). Today, a certification scheme—displaying each gem's place of origin—is supposed to prevent such illegal traffic. But does it work? Meanwhile the country's civilians, most of whom have never set eyes on a diamond, are caught in the crossfire.

Length: 45 minutes

Item#: BVL185437

ISBN: 978-1-64623-916-0

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

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