Disarmament Resumes in Sierra Leone

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(Rapaport…July 17, 2001) Rebel fighters in Sierra Leone’s Kono District resolved on July 15 to resume with disarmament following a brief stall in the process brought on by rebel complaints against the UN and the government. Representatives from the Sierra Leone government, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and the UN are scheduled to meet in the city of Bo on July 17 to discuss RUF grievances in hopes to avoid further stalls.

The UN welcomed the RUF’s decision to continue disarming, but urged them to do more.

“We are pleased, but we expect them to follow the statement with action,” said UN mission spokeswoman Margaret Novicki. “We are expecting bigger numbers than one, two or three per day.”

Since May 18, more than 6,000 combatants in Sierra Leone have laid down their arms, but disarmament has been much slower in Kono where the process did not begin until July 2. Since then, only 46 rebel fighters and 120 pro-government fighters have laid down their assault rifles in the diamond-rich area.

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