The Geography of Conflict Diamonds: The Case of Sierra Leone

  • Bianica Pires
  • Andrew Crooks
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9708)


In the early 1990s, Sierra Leone entered into nearly 10 years of civil war. The ease of accessibility to the country’s diamonds is said to have provided the funding needed to sustain the insurgency over the years. According to Le Billon, the spatial dispersion of a resource is a major defining feature of a war. Using geographic information systems to create a realistic landscape and theory to ground agent behavior, an agent-based model is developed to explore Le Billon’s claim. Different scenarios are explored as the diamond mines are made secure and the mining areas are moved from rural areas to the capital. It is found that unexpected consequences can come from minimally increasing security when the mining sites are in rural regions, potentially displacing conflict rather than removing it. On the other hand, minimal security may be sufficient to prevent conflict when resources are found in the city.


Agent-based modeling Geographic information systems Civil war Conflict 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia TechArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Computational Social Science ProgramGeorge Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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