Disarmament Resumes in Sierra Leone’s Diamond Fields

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(Rapaport…December 13, 2001) After a two-week delay, disarmament in Sierra Leone’s eastern diamond fields has resumed after Revolutionary United Front (RUF) interim leader Issa Sesay ordered his followers to lay down their arms earlier this week. The process was due to have ended on November 30, but was delayed because of rebel demands that their detained leader, Foday Sankoh, be released. A U.N. spokesman said that almost 500 rebels in the Tongo Field region — including 110 child fighters — disarmed on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The latest delay was cited as part of the reason for a recent suggestion put forth by the U.N. that elections in Sierra Leone be pushed forward from May 2002 to November.

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