Ten days before the start of the disarmament process in the southeastern part of Sierra Leone, a top United Nations military officer visited the area to urge cooperation from all sides, the UN peacekeeping operation in the country said today.
Visiting the districts of Kailahun and Kenema on Monday, Deputy Force Commander Maj. Gen. Martin Luther Agwai held meetings with representatives from the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the Civil Defence Forces (CDF) to discuss the process that will start on 15 November to disarm both armed groups.
At his meeting in Tongo, Kenema District, the Deputy Force Commander appealed to both RUF and CDF combatants to exercise flexibility and a sense of commitment to the disarmament exercise so that it could move smoothly, according to a statement issued today in Freetown by the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL).
In Kailahun, Maj. Gen. Agwai received a briefing on the general security situation in the area from Pakistani peacekeepers deployed there. Addressing a gathering at the Kailahun District Town Hall, the Deputy Force Commander called on the local community to cooperate with UNAMSIL so as to ensure a successful completion of the disarmament exercise.
In other news, the UN Mission announced that the seventh tripartite meeting between the Government of Sierra Leone, the RUF and UNAMSIL would take place in Freetown on Thursday. UNAMSIL chief Oluyemi Adeniji will chair the session, which will discuss the progress of disarmament activities throughout the country, a review of the peace process and issues related to national recovery and stabilization.