Sierra Leone: Rebels, Government pledge to start disarming in two more provinces

Sierra Leone: Rebels, Government pledge to start disarming in two more provinces

The Government of Sierra Leone and the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) have pledged to begin disarming their combatants in two more provinces, according to a communiqué released today by the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).

By signing the communiqué following a meeting in Kenema last Friday, the two sides undertook to begin disarmament in Moyamba on 15 August and in Koinadugu five days later, completing the process in both areas by the end of the month.

Describing the strategic importance of this development, UN officials said the rebel RUF will disarm in Koinadugu - a northern province bordering Guinea - while the Civil Defence Force (CDF), which backs the Government, will disarm in the southern province of Moyamba.

During Friday's meeting, which was chaired by UNAMSIL chief Oluyemi Adeniji, both sides expressed satisfaction with the disarmament process in the districts of Kambia and Port Loko, but noted that pockets of combatants remained in the Kono district. They called on RUF and CDF leaders in those two districts to ensure that disarmament there can be completed by this Friday.

Originally established in 1999, UNAMSIL is mandated to cooperate in the implementation of the Lomé Peace Agreement and to assist in the implementation of Sierra Leone's disarmament, demobilization and reintegration plan.