Sierra Leone: UN envoy witnesses start of disarmament effort

Sierra Leone: UN envoy witnesses start of disarmament effort

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) today witnessed the start of a process to disarm combatants from the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the government-backed Civil Defence Force (CDF).

UNAMSIL chief Oluyemi Adeniji observed the disarmament in Kambia, where there are an estimated 1,000 RUF and 300 CDF combatants, and in Port Loko, where another 700 CDF fighters are located, a UN spokesman said today.

Meanwhile, the UN Mission has established a permanent patrol presence in the heart of RUF-held territory in Koidu, in the Kono district in the eastern part of the country. Some 250 Bangladeshi peacekeepers were deployed there on Wednesday, UNAMSIL said.

The UN Mission was established by the Security Council on 22 October 1999 to cooperate with the Government and the other parties in implementing the Lomé Peace Agreement and to assist in the implementation of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plan. UNAMSIL's mandate and size have been subsequently revised by the Council.