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Security Council calls for adequate funding to help Sierra Leone’s ex-combatants

Security Council calls for adequate funding to help Sierra Leone’s ex-combatants

Amb. Ole Peter Kolby
Welcoming the completion of the disarmament process in Sierra Leone, members of the United Nations Security Council today called for adequate resources to be provided for programmes aimed at easing nearly 50,000 ex-combatants back into society.

The appeal came in a press statement by the Council’s current President, Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, after the 15-member body had heard a closed-door briefing by the head of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), Oluyemi Adeniji, who warned of the danger of having so many idle youths.

In the statement, Council members welcomed the progress made in Sierra Leone’s peace process, reiterated the importance of effective extension of State authority throughout the country and expressed their intention to extend UNAMSIL’s mandate another six months until the end of September.

However, they also were concerned about the fragile situation in the Mano River Union, and looked forward to the follow-up of the results of the recent summit meeting between the Presidents of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, he added.

Speaking to reporters after he had briefed the Council, Mr. Adeniji said that among the next steps to be taken in Sierra Leone was the imperative of arranging programmes to reintegrate some 47,000 former soldiers into society. He noted that there was a $7 million shortfall for such projects.

“I emphasized [to the Council] the danger in that: if you have almost 50,000 young men, who have been disarmed, and yet have nothing to do because the reintegration projects have really not taken off properly,” Mr. Adeniji said. “I asked the Security Council to call the attention of donors to this.”