Former Sierra Leonean fighters lay down arms at new disarmament site, UN reports

Former Sierra Leonean fighters lay down arms at new disarmament site, UN reports

The United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) today reported the opening of a new disarmament centre where fighters from both sides of the country's conflict have begun to lay down their weapons.

During Monday's official opening of the Yengema Disarmament Centre - located near Koidu, in Sierra Leone's diamond-rich Kono district - 30 combatants from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and 8 from the Civil Defence Force (CDF) were disarmed. Among the weapons destroyed at the site were AK-47s, FN rifles and small arms and ammunition.

Presiding over the ceremony, UNAMSIL deputy chief Behrooz Sadry expressed his appreciation for the manner in which the exercise was conducted, despite a few logistical problems that were encountered during preparations.

Later that day, Mr. Sadry and other officials attending the ceremony toured the Yengema Centre to inspect the progress achieved so far by the National Commission for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in constructing the site.

Meanwhile, in Bonthe Island, where the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programme also began yesterday, nine CDF combatants disarmed at a reception centre, according to UNAMSIL.