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Sierra Leone, rebels agree to resume disarmament process: UN mission

Sierra Leone, rebels agree to resume disarmament process: UN mission

A joint disarmament committee in Sierra Leone comprising United Nations, government and rebel representatives has agreed to a series of measures to address ongoing ceasefire violations in the diamond-rich Kono District, including the immediate resumption of the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process.

In a communiqué signed yesterday in the southern town of Bo by Solomon Berewa, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, and Omrie Golley, Chairman of the Revolutionary United Front's (RUF) Political and Peace Council, the Government of Sierra Leone and the rebels agreed that disarmament in Kono District would resume as of 18 July with a view to completing the process in that area by the end of the month. The signing was witnessed by the head of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Oluyemi Adeniji.

The parties further agreed that all checkpoints erected by the RUF or Civil Defence Force (CDF) in Kono District will be dismantled as of 18 July. In order to allow a smooth completion of the disarmament process, a total moratorium on all mining activities in Kono District will also come into force the same day. No combatants will be allowed to carry weapons except on their way to reception centres under the supervision of their commanders, to prevent future clashes between armed combatants in the district.

A joint committee comprising representatives of the CDF, the RUF and UNAMSIL will be established on the ground to monitor implementation of the agreement. The meeting also agreed on the next steps and locations for the disarmament process countrywide.