Sierra Leone: UN official welcomes new step in restoring civil authority in country

Sierra Leone: UN official welcomes new step in restoring civil authority in country

A senior official with the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) has hailed the latest opening of a government office in the north as another "definitive benchmark" in the restoration of civil authority in the region.

Behrooz Sadry, along with Sierra Leonean officials, presided over the hand-over of the offices and residence of the highest-ranking district official - the Senior District Officer (SDO) - in Makeni Province, the former headquarters of the rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF).

In his address, Mr. Sadry said process of the restoration of civil authority, which started with the deployment of the Sierra Leone Police and the return of paramount chiefs, culminated in the return of key provincial and district officials, including SDOs, throughout the country.

Along with the restoration of state authority comes "state responsibilities which the government is committed to uphold," Mr. Sadry said, urging the population to exercise patience to enable the government and other stakeholders to meet their responsibilities to consolidate peace-building efforts after the decade-long war.

He also pointed out that judicial coverage throughout the country was a critical area that needed immediate attention in the restoration of state authority. "UNAMSIL will commence work to rehabilitate, refurbish and provide furniture for the Magistrate's court buildings in Makeni, Magburaka and Kabala," he said.

For his part, Sidique Brima, the Sierra Leone Minister of Local Government and Community Development, said the inauguration of the buildings was remarkable and symbolic. In a reference to the past, he said, "We must prevent a recurrence of the carnage and learn to love one another and maintain fairness and social justice amongst all citizens."