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Operation Palliser was a British Armed forces operation in Sierra Leone in 2000 under the command of Brigadier (now General) David Richards.

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Tactical situation

In spring 2000, rebel activity in Sierra Leone was escalating significantly with the rebel forces of the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) presenting a credible threat to the capital, Freetown.

Main deployment

On May 7, 2000, the Joint Task Force Headquarters, UK Spearhead Battalion: 20 fd sqn Royal engineers, 1st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment, (minus its A-company, but reinforced by D-company 2 PARA and elements of 2 PARA's support company), the Pathfinder Platoon, the Special Air Service and Royal Air Force Hercules were deployed to conduct a Non Combatant Evacuation of UK, EU, and Commonwealth citizens.

Following the evacuation the main aims were to keep control of the airport, patrol Freetown and allow UN supplies to be flown in to the country safely.

In support of the effort a number of Royal Navy assets were diverted:

As Task Group 342.1:

Illustrious and Fort George had been diverted from NATO exercises in the Bay of Biscay, with RAF aircraft embarked for the exercise. Aircraft of both NoIV Squadron and 801 Naval Air Squadron made a number of patrols in support of the mission.

A Forward Logistic Base was established in Dakar to support the mission.

On May 17, 2000, the Rebel leader Foday Sankoh was captured by Government forces and transported to a secure location by helicopter.

Operation Palliser ended on June 15, 2000 however a continuing UK commitment provides training support to the Government of Sierra Leone.

Operation Barras

Main article: Operation Barras

Operation Barras was an operation carried out to rescue soldiers captured by the West Side Boys (using the SAS and paratroopers) and to stabilise the situation in Sierra Leone.

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