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HOW SAFE IS SIERRA LEONE?

Fourteen years after the official end of the civil war, our security expert Daniel Wheeler assesses the threat to tourists

Despite Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war ending in 2002, the West African country is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. However, petty theft and violent assaults are common in the capital, Freetown. Travellers are advised to avoid protests, demonstrations and public gatherings due to the possibility of violence. Caution should be taken in border areas near Guinea and Liberia, as they are well-known smuggling routes for criminal organisations. The threat of terrorism in Sierra Leone is low. Travelling outside of Freetown can be hazardous due to limited access to mains water and poor mobile network coverage. Be prepared for police checkpoints when travelling by road. Criminal gangs have been known to set up makeshift roadblocks to exploit money from tourists. Before visiting the country, travellers should check the latest security advisories issued by their government’s foreign office.

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