I haven't been there either but I wrote my thesis on the effects of post-conflict transitions in borderland areas (which to be honest really could have benefited from field work). I believe that Lansana Conte managed to get a lot of aid money to build roads in return for housing a lot of the refugees from Sierra Leone during the war.
The book has interesting info relating to the relationships created by the influx of refugees fleeing sofa warriors. Part of what I was eluding to was that what we now consider border were never static and that there were always population shifts occuring and indeed this area was a major transit point of Fulbhe traders, it was the processes such as colonisation that solidified identities.
Here is a little extract of my work (its handed in now so I don't care
------------- Kopytoff (1987) points out that the arrival of European traders on the Atlantic coast from the 15th Century symbolised a major shift in the geopolitical nature of trade in West Africa. Similarly, it led to a large movement of Mande groups from the region of modern Mali and Upper Guinea towards the forest region bordering modern day Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nugent (1996) draws the distinction between the European structure of territorial space and that occurring in West Africa in the period. Rather than a series of demarcated boundaries the African system consisted of centres of political power interspersed amongst areas of no man's lands. Indeed notable rulers such as Alamamy Samory Toure in the late 19th Century were able to move their states across large expanses when the French imperial intrusion began (Nugent, 1996: 40). Mbembe (2000) has referred to this as 'itinerant territoriality' .
These movements towards the forest region saw the collision of polities, 'inter-ethnic blurring or interpenetration' (Jackson, 2008: 271) and resulted in bargaining that has repercussions to this day. Local confederacies were created amongst groups of differing ethnic origin in an attempt to retain control of their territory. As such, military and political factors were placed above ethnic bonds (Murphy & Bledsloe, 1987: 124). This resulted in a stratified society dependent on what the 'latecomers' had to offer to the locale. Latecomers such as those of warrior status that could offer military power were categorised as subordinated allies of the landowners. Those that could provide labour resources became clients whilst their labourers became slaves (McGovern, 2004: 126). This led to the expansion of fortified polities within the forest region based on collective security of the group and with little chance of centralised power within the area. ------------
--- So a lot of this book looks at how the Loma perceived the Malinke as having welched on the deal when Sekou Toure came to power.
I was surprised by the amount of work written about the area to be honest. Here is some I used.
Arieff. A. 2009. Still standing: neighbourhood wars and political stability in Guinea Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 47, No.3, pp. 331–348
Fairhead. J. 2010. Kouankan and the Guinea-Liberian border. The powerful presence of the past: Integration and conflict along the Upper Guinea coast. Knorr. J. & Filho. T. (eds). Brill academic publishers
Hojbjerg. C. 2005. Masked violence: Rotual action and the perception of violence in an upper Guinea ethnic conflict. In: Kastfelt. N. Religion and African civil wars. Hurst & Company: London. pp. 147-171
Hojbjerg. C. 2010. Victims and heroes: Manding historical imagination in a conflict ridden region (Liberia-Guinea). The powerful presence of the past: Integration and conflict along the Upper Guinea coast. Knorr. J. & Filho. T. (eds). Brill academic publishers.
Jorgel. M. & Utas. M. 2007. The Mano River Basin Area: Formal and Informal Security Providers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. Swedish defence research agency
Konneh. A. 1996. Citizenship at the Margins: Status, Ambiguity, and the Mandingo of Liberia. African Studies Review, Vol. 39, No. 2, pp. 141-154
Korvah. P. 1995. The history of the Loma people. O Books.
Murphy. W. &. Bledsloe. C. 1987. Kinship and territory in the history of the Kpelle chiefdom. In: The African Frontier. Kopytoff. I. (ed). Indiana University Press
Straker. J. 2007. Youth, globalisation, and millennial reflection in a Guinean forest town. The Journal of Modern African Studies. Vol. 45, pp 299-319Tilly. C. 2003. The politics of collective violence. Cambridge University Press.