25,000 weapons turned in during Sierra Leone disarmament: report

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 25 Jan 2006
FREETOWN, Jan 25, 2006 (AFP) - More than 25,000 guns believed to have been used in Sierra Leone's 10-year civil war were turned in to security agencies by rival sides during a disarmament process that ended in 2002, an action group said Wednesday.

A respected non-governmental organisation, the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA), said in a report made available to AFP that most of the weapons originated from China, the former Soviet Union, Germany, Belgium and some eastern European countries.

The thousands of weapons handed in both by former rebels and militias allied to the government included 940 G3 rifles originally from Germany and seized from peacekeeping units, or were re-exported to Sierra Leone from third countries, the report said.

"None of these weapons are manufactured in Sierra Leone," the report stated, adding "the fact is that they found their way into Sierra Leone to be used as implements to prosecute a brutal civil war."

The Rebel Revolutionary United Front went on a murderous campaign against the government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah during a conflict regarded as one of the most savage in modern history for atrocities against civilians.

SLANSA said that also handed over were 1,000 light weapons, a million rounds of ammunition, some unexploded cluster bomblets, a British anti-aircraft missile, a Soviet Spigot anti-tank guided weapon, two Soviet SA-7 surface-to-air missiles and 23 anti-aircraft guns from eastern Europe.

The United Nations mission in the west African country helped demobilise and reintegrate more than 70,000 ex-combatants and helped the government to establish full control over all the territory.

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Received by NewsEdge Insight: 01/25/2006 08:01:10

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