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These African countries all went through a transition of being colonially ruled by western countries to being thrust into brutal civil wars. Similarly, the rebel groups within these countries that were trying to seize power used conflict diamonds to fuel their ambitions. This is not surprising considering once a blood diamond is siphoned into the global market, it is nearly impossible to identify as blood diamond. In Angola during the late 1980’s the cold war was coming to an end and support from the United States and the Soviet Union began to dwindle, the UNITA and MPLA turned to oil and diamonds for their main source of income to support their cause. The leader of the UNITA Jonas Savimbi quickly took the upper hand in the civil war because he created one of the largest diamond smuggling rings in history. He used this to his advantage when Angola had a presidential election which was won by Jose Eduardo dos Santos from the MPLA, Savimbi used all of his profits from diamond smuggling to arm his 60,000 strong army and led them into battle. He was quickly able to gain control of most of the country. Sadly this did not come without great cost to the people who lived in the country. It was reported that between 1993 to 1995, 300,000 lives were lost in fighting, not to mention the cities left in ruins. Towards the end of the 1990’s into the early 2000’s Savimbi power was dwindled due to western countries taking control of his oil refineries and diamonds. In Sierra Leone, a rebel group known as the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) seized control of the eastern part of the country on March 23, 1991. Over the next decade, the RUF under the control of Foday Sankoh grew their power within the region and was able to take control of 90% of the diamond industry. Sankoh promised the people of Sierra Leone the riches of the diamond industry. Instead, he used his power to terrorize country to make a statement about how the government’s inability to protects its people. The RUF become renowned for its barbaric acts and blatant neglection for human rights all over the world. It was not until 2002 when a coalition of British, United Nations, Guinean forces brought Sankoh to justice by interviewing and bringing the decade-long civil war to an end. In 1990 Samuel Doe, the Liberian Army officer who self-proclaimed himself the dictator of Liberia was overthrown by one of the stronger rebel groups in the country known as the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL). Charles Taylor took control of the country and helped the RUF from Sierra Leone siphon diamonds out of the region in return for arms. This illicit trading went unnoticed for several years until the RUF’s atrocities caught the worlds eye. The United Nations put embargoes on both countries in an attempt to stop the source of their income, sadly this did little and the illicit trading continued. In all 3 cases of these countries being launcher into civil wars, at some point or another, the groups that were wreaking havoc upon these countries resorted to blood diamonds to fuel their sinister means.

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