From the field

Issue No. 5: Female Combatants in West Africa: Pregress or Regress? (December 2002)

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Recent wars in West Africa have introduced a phenomenon that is not popular in the history and mythology of West Africa. The voices of women, stereotypically known to be romantic, affective, and soothing now echo with the masculinity and monstrosity common among warriors of old. Gone are the days when women sang the praises of warrior men. They too are warriors, capable of defending their nations and ideals (whatever that means in contemporary African warfare). Large numbers of women were in active combat in the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Some of them rose to the rank of commanders, generals, and senior intelligent officers. They were fierce and feared by all including women and children.

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