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An ethno-linguistic group of Mande origin which has been settled in eastern Sierra Leone since about the 16th century in what probably was territory formerly occupied by the Kisi (q.v.) or their ancestors. The evidence for the latter is that the Kono area is one of the sites where the ancient stone figure sculptures called pomdo (q.v.) are discovered. It is also the area where most of Sierra Leone's diamond-mining is centred and consequently was the part of the country that experienced the most dramatic internal immigration and consequent social disruption in the late colonial and post-independence period. In the anarchy of the 1990s the struggle to control the sources of diamonds made it one of the areas most bitterly contested by armed groups.

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