Sierra Leone UNs top military officer rebel leader urge fighters to disarm

Travelling to Kailahun yesterday, thousands of people gathered in the town of Tongo Fields to welcome the commander of UN peacekeeping forces, Lt. Gen. Daniel Opande, and the RUF interim leader, Issa Sesay, the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) said in a statement released in Freetown today.In his remarks, Gen. Opande said disarmament in Kailahun was irreversible. He received a “thunderous ‘yes'” from the people when he asked them if they were ready for peace, UNAMSIL said. The Force Commander urged the combatants to disarm so the people of Kailahun and Kenema Districts could enjoy “the best Christmas in many years.”More than 380 RUF combatants in Kailahun have disarmed so far even though disarmament in the two districts had slowed down after the RUF expressed concern over a number of political issues, including the release of political prisoners and the transformation of the RUF into a political party.Prior to their arrival in Tongo Fields, the Force Commander and the RUF interim leader made a stop over in the town of Kailahun to deliver the same message and to witness the symbolic resumption of disarmament in the area. UNAMSIL said disarmament there would “resume in full force today.” read more