LURD Says Fighters Will Not Disarm, Until...

By: Francis Pelenah

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted December 11, 2003

The Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) has warned that its fighters will not surrender their weapons, not even a bayonet to any peacekeeper until proper education on the disarmament process and the full package promised is made available.

Speaking on Wednesday during a press briefing at the group’s coordinating office at Point Four on the Bushrod Island, LURD’s Coordinator Mr. Mohammed Sheriff stressed that any mistake for anyone to go against this warning will, in his words "not be in the interest of the Liberian people".

"We don’t want what happened in town and other areas, with ex-GOL fighters going on the rampage, to occur in LURD control areas, so they should carry out proper education and make the package available to the fighters," Mr. Sheriff emphasized.

Asked as why the leadership of LURD was not helping to educate their fighters on the Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (DDRR) program but have left everything with UNMIL, Mr. Sheriff said his organization was not included on what he termed, "disarmament committee" and as such, they cannot do anything.
He warned that LURD will not cooperate with the peacekeepers in the disarmament process unless it is fully included in the process.

However, documents from the DDRR program indicate that the three belligerent parties including LURD, MODEL and the former Government of Liberia (GOL) fighters will be part and parcel of the disarmament process, so it is not yet clear as to what sort of representation LURD wants in the process.

Meanwhile the rebel LURD has condemned the ugly behavior on the part of ex-GOL forces who have for the past four days been on the rampage shooting across the city and its suburbs demanding cash for weapons. The group described the ex-GOL fighters’ behavior as a gross violation of the Accra signed cease-fire and tantamount to what it called full scale declaration of war again in Monrovia. They however blamed UNMIL for the incident, noting that UNMIL had failed to properly plan and execute the disarmament program.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.