Global Policy Forum

Sierra Leone Rebels Say Committed to Peace

December 2, 2000

The United Nations said on Saturday that Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels had restated their commitment to peace and opening areas under their control to U.N. truce monitors. But a statement, issued one day after talks between peacekeepers and rebels at Mile 91 east of the capital Freetown, said the world body had urged the rebels to do more to show their commitment to the November 10 truce. The U.N. team "emphasized the urgency for the RUF to show concrete signs of compliance with the cease fire agreement, particularly those confidence-building measures contained therein," the statement said.

The U.N. Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) called Friday's meeting to discuss deploying its peacekeepers in rebel-held areas a key provision of a 1999 peace deal. Mile 91 is on the main road to rebel-held diamond-mining areas in the east of the former British colony.

The rebels, whose founding father Foday Sankoh is in jail pending trial in Freetown, took up arms in May in defiance of the 1999 peace deal. They seized and held hundreds of peacekeepers hostage, some for several weeks.

"The key points of the RUF statement included a commitment to peace, preparedness to return all UNAMSIL weapons and equipment, to open all roads and welcome the visitation of UNAMSIL military observers," the U.N. statement said.

Issa Sesay, appointed rebel leader after Sankoh's capture in May, did not attend Friday's meeting in person.

The truce between government forces and the RUF has held but military sources report clashes between the rebels and Guinean forces inside Sierra Leone since November 10. Guinea accuses the rebels of joining forces with Guinean dissidents and attacking villages inside its territory. Sankoh launched Sierra Leone's civil war in 1991.

More Information on Sierra Leone


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