AFRICA/LIBERIA - Disarmament proceeds but Catholic Radio Veritas in Monrovia denounces: “Some of the rebels are moving weapons across the border to Ivory Coast instead of handing them to the United Nations ”

Monday, 3 May 2004

Monrovia (Fides Service)- “The process of disarmament proceeds peacefully and with order” a Consolata Missionary Sister in Harbel told Fides. Harbel is 50 km south of Monrovia, capital della Liberia. “However yesterday 2 May the Catholic broadcaster Radio Veritas based in the archdiocese of Monrovia called on the UN mission in Liberia UNOMIL, to intervene in the south where a faction of one of the rebel groups MODEL (Liberia Democratic Movement) continues to attack civilians” the missionary told Fides. “Radio Veritas also denounced that one of the MODEL leaders is moving weapons over the border to Ivory Coast, in areas controlled by Ivorian rebel allies. Clearly this represents a threat to the stability of the entire region”.
“Disarmament proceeds in the north where army troops and LURD rebels, Liberians Untied for Reconciliation and Democracy, are handing in their weapons while the MODEL rebels are disarming at Buchanan” the missionary told Fides. According to the United Nations already about 19,000 of the estimated 40,000 troops have been disarmed.
“The intervention on the part of the international community and the starting of the process of disarmament has helped re-build confidence. People are less afraid and beginning to believe in a better future. A Commission has been set up to prepare for elections in 2005. A leading personality in the Commission is Mrs Morris, who is a member of the Justice and Peace Commission of Monrovia diocese” the Sister told Fides. “However there is still the tragedy of thousands of Liberians living in refugee camps where there is a climate of violence and tyranny and no one knows when these people will be able to return to their homes ” the missionary concludes.
The programme to disarm the various military groups was a major point in the peace agreement signed in August 2003 which put an end to civil war between troops loyal to exiled president Charles Taylor and the two rebels groups LURD and MODEL. Taylor agreed to leave the country and is exiled in Nigeria, but he is wanted by the International Court for Sierra Leone, suspected for being involved in violation of human rights in the civil war in Sierra Leone. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 3/5/2004, righe 32 parole 404)