In early 1997 Peter Penfold, arrived in Sierra Leone as the British High Commissioner. This fascinating book describes not just his eventful three year tour but the background and subsequent events that placed this small country at the centre of the world stage. During his tour he found himself as right hand man to the country's beleaguered President Kabbah. Due to rebel actions, including shocking atrocities, the Author had to not only evacuate the international community (twice) but was forced out himself. At times he flew in daily from British warships as the situation was dangerously unstable. We learn how almost immediately after being praised by Prime Minister Tony Blair for his pivotal role in getting this once rich country back on its feet, he found himself under Customs and Excise investigation and Parliamentary Committee scrutiny for his supposed role in the 'Arms for Africa' Enquiry. While reprimanded by the FCO, he was feted and made a Paramount Chief by the Sierra Leone people. He describes how, after his tour was cut short despite his and the host Government's appeals, the situation again deteriorated.
He gives a highly informed account of the subsequent events including the SAS Operation BARRAS - the rescue of the British military hostages. This is a very important account based on the most privileged knowledge.
Peter Penfold CMG OBE enjoyed a hugely successful diplomatic career. He retired shortly after his standing down as High Commissioner but is a frequent visitor to, and well respected figure in Sierra Leone. He testified at UN Sierra Leone War Crimes Court.