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Cross Border Soccer

Ahmed Jalllanzo/ Twenty Ten

Location:Liberia/SierraLeone

Cross Border soccer is a vital instrument through which peace and security is maintained along the border of Liberia and Sierra Leone. In the early 1980's, the relationship between the two countries soured after a qualifier match in Freetown in which several Liberian players and officials were brutally attacked. As a result, the Government of Liberia ordered the closure of the Mano River Union Border post.

In the mid-1980's there was an attempted attack on the former president of Liberia, Samuel Kanyon Doe, by Liberian terrorists and by the 1990s cross border attacks by rebels of the Revolutionary Front (RUF) of Sierra Leone, and United Liberation Movement for Reconciliation and Democracy of Liberia(ULIMO) were commonplace.

It is against this backdrop that football has emerged as something that unites young men across the divide. In the border towns of Bo-Waterside and Jendemah, soccer games are often organised to bring players and fans together, and the local police work hard to ensure that peace prevails.

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