Let the Momentum Continue
Posted May 6, 2004
On April 15, the disarmament exercise which started in December 7 but was discontinued due to some problems, resumed in Gbarnga, Bong County with several ex-combatants of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) disarming to UNMIL peacekeepers. The exercise has since been extended to Buchanan where several ex-fighters of the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) are cooperating. Likewise, it has also been extended to Tubmanburg, a former stronghold of LURD.
Since the resumption of the exercise, it has been reported that about 7,284 former fighters have disarmed. The disclosure was made last Monday at special edition of the Edward Wilmot Blyden Forum organized by the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) in observance of World Press Freedom Day.
Dr. Moses Jarbo, Executive Director of the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (NCDDRR) said, statistics received from the disarmament sites shows that 5,384 male combatants and 752 female fighters have surrendered their arms to the peacekeepers. Continuing, Dr. Jarbo said the statistics also shows 935 males under the age of 18 years, 316 female below 16 years and 35 adults have also disarmed.
The figures or statistics cover disarmed soldiers in Gbarnga (Bong), Buchanan (Grand Bassa) and Tubmanburg (Bomi) since the resumption of the DDRR process.
Besides, since the process resumed, there have been much momentum and enthusiasm by every Liberian, including ex-combatants for the success of the program. As result of this, the resumed process continues to go on smoothly and unhindered as there have been no major problems since the process re-started.
At the same time, we commend UNMIL and others for the level of awareness and education on the process, something, which is greatly responsible for the smooth implementation of the disarmament, demobilization exercise thus far.
So far, we are happy over the level at which the disarmament process is proceeding and call on every Liberian to ensure that the process is successful because disarmament is crucial to the total restoration of lasting peace in this country.
To achieve this, the slogan for every Liberian now should be . “DISARMAMENT FIRST, THEN ALL OTHER THINGS WILL FOLLOW.” Once again, with a successful DDRR program, much would be achieved. Therefore, let us keep up the momentum for its success.