During the 1990s, a group called the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), began brutally attacking villages to gain control of diamond mines. Rebel forces had a horrific name for their mission: "Operation Destroy Every Living Thing." The rebels were notorious for murdering, raping, and chopping off limbs of tens of thousands of civilians. Not even children were spared. The RUF kidnapped and brainwashed children, turning them into child soldiers.
Two million people were forced to flee, creating a refugee crisis in neighboring countries Liberia and Guinea.
The civil war finally came to an end in 2002 with aid from British and United Nations troops. More than 50,000 lives were lost, and Sierra Leone became the poorest nation on earth. It's estimated that more than 50,000 people are still scattered in refugee camps.