Disarmament Goes To Tubmanburg
By: I. Solo Kelgbeh
Posted April 26, 2004
The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) began disarming several ex-combatants of the group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy(LURD), as the ongoing DDRR program commenced in Tubmanburg, Bomi County yesterday.
Under a peaceful atmosphere, the ex-combatants including women, men and children turned out to be disarmed. At about 12:30 p.m., 250 former fighters had been disarmed by UNMIL, while more than 1,000 others were sent back.
Twenty-one children and 56 women were among those that disarmed yesterday.
The combatants turned in heavy weapons including an Anti Aircraft gun. The flowing of the weapons and ammunition clearly point out the need for disarmament to take place.
Speaking briefly at the ceremony, UNMIL’s force commander, Gen. Daniel Opande told the world that everyone who fought during the war or is in possession of arms will be disarmed.
He warned the fighters not to hide any arms saying, “anyone who hides arm will be considered a criminal after the disarmament period”.
The UNMIL Force Commander also called on the civilians to cooperate with the process by embracing the fighters as their children, daughters and sons for the sake of true reconciliation.
Some top LURD commanders were among those that disarmed yesterday.
Disarming to Gen. Daniel Opande yesterday, Gen. Prince Sio and his wife, Massa Sio; Gen. John Tarwally alias “Sabana”; Gen. Alieu Donzo, and Gen. Alpha Donzo maintained tey had disarmed to show that the war in Liberia was over.
They said if anyone doubts that LURD is not going to fight again, they should see their disarmament as a clear testimony, and so all others must now join the peace wagon to move the country forward.
Meanwhile, UNMIL’s Force Commander says six additional cantonment sites have been identified. Gen. Opande said UNMIL will erect these sites in other parts of the country to facilitate the smooth sailing of the DDRR in the country.