Global Policy Forum

Cease-fire Violations

UN Integrated Regional Information Network (IRIN)
May 24, 1999

Abidjan - The Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and ECOMOG, the West African peacekeeping force that backs Sierra Leone's government, Monday accused each other of breaking a cease-fire just hours after it entered into effect.

Omrie Golley, the RUF's legal spokesman, told IRIN that ECOMOG helicopter gunships fired on RUF troops in Magbas, near Magburaka, some 150 km northeast of Freetown and, in the east of the country, near the Tongo-Moyamba junction.

ECOMOG spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Olukulade told IRIN ECOMOG troops had come under "a massive rebel attack around Magburaka between two and five o'clock this morning". He said troops along the main highway between Freetown and the eastern town of Kenema had also come under rebel attack. Olukulade said he hoped the rebels would soon give up fighting as it became clear to them that ECOMOG would not give up its positions. "We still have hopes for the cease-fire," he added. "We want it to work."

Golley said the ECOMOG commander should "have more control over his men". He also said it was important for UN observers to be deployed quickly to monitor the cease-fire, which came into effect on Monday, and "silence the guns". Neither side was able to give any details of casualties. The cease-fire agreement was concluded on 18 May in Lome by President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and rebel leader Foday Sankoh. The two sides are due to start peace talks on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, two UN monitors have arrived in Freetown to examine the military and security situation, Jacqueline Chenard of the United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) told IRIN on Monday. The monitors plan to spend about a week in Sierra Leone, meeting both sides in the conflict as well as non-governmental, religious and others groups participating in the peace process. They will then present their findings in a report to the UN Secretary-General.

Another 16 UN military observers are expected to arrive in Sierra Leone by the end of May, the UNOMSIL official said.

More Information on Sierra Leone


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