1. Political Development
The Second meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee
Mali’s President Alpha Omar Konare chaired the second meeting of the Joint Implementation Committee of the Lome Peace Accord on 24 January as a means to promote reconciliation and speed up the disarmament process. President Ahmed Tejan Kabbah, Chairman Foday Sankoh, Johnny Paul Koroma, ECOWAS foreign ministers, UN and ECOMOG intervention official, diplomats for the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the Commonwealth, Britain, the United States and Libya were represented at these talks. With the disarmament process in place then the spirit of reconciliation would be felt among Sierra Leoneans Konare urged. He reminded all parties that it is only through peace that there can be socioeconomic growth.
Chairman Foday Sankoh Suspends Mining Activities in Sierra Leone
Chairman Foday Sankoh in his capacity as Commissioner of Sierra Leone’s Strategic Resources, National Reconstruction and Development (CMRRD) announced, on 24 January that all mining activity in the country should be stopped and anyone who breeches the order will be arrested. Mining activities will commence after his commission looks into new mining laws. He has also cancelled all diamond concessions and leases pending review by his commission. These announcements came after consultation with President Ahmed Tejan-Kabbah. This announcement comes after the recent report by the Organisation Partnership Africa Canada, which documented evidence of massive smuggling of diamonds. In a related event the US government OTI programme announced a new project to help the Government of Sierra Leone come to grips with this problem which affects so much of the country.
Kenyan Contingent of UNAMSIL Face Problems
Kenyan battalions have been encountered further problems with RUF personnel during the reporting period. The first incident occurred on 12 January when 5 Kenyans on their way to Makeni along the Port Loko - Lungi road were stopped and taken into the bushes and relieved of all their personal effects. A similar incident took place on 31 January, when 50 RUF rebels relieved a group of 30 Kenyan peacekeepers of their food supply, equipment and weapons. In both incidents no one was injured. UNAMSIL is pursing the return of these weapons at the highest level.
EU/SLRRP Disburses 4.7 Billion Leones to National Projects
The European Commission (EC) in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Resettlement and Rehabilitation Programme (SLRRP) has disbursed 4.7 billion Leones to 203 projects in the country. Mr. Robert D’Cruz Project coordinator for EC/SLRRP in Western area said that NGOs, Women’s Organisations, Community Based Organisations, private contractors and government ministries would implement the projects. The areas of intervention will include, agriculture, education, vocational training, roads and bridges and peace building. He said that this would also create opportunities for ex-combatants as the DDR programme progresses. The programme is also looking forward to working with all ex-combatants to help them rebuild post war Sierra Leone. The programme is currently operating in the east, west and south, but work will commence in the north as situation improves.
Swiss/Sierra Leone Development Foundation Donates Food
The Swiss/Sierra Leone development foundation donated a large amount of relief food items (corn soya, beans, oil and flour) to the vulnerable population at Tasso Island the items were provided through the WFP.
Gun Shots at the Mahyoung Parade
As various personnel from the national and international community including members of ECOMOG gathered around the Wilberforce military barracks on 24 January to witness the yearly Mahyong parade shots were fired. This parade is in remembrance of Sierra Leonean combatants who fought with the British in the Battle of Mahyoung during the First World War. A disagreement erupted between an ECOMOG soldier and a Sierra Leone soldier, which led to firing of gun shots resulting in the minor injury of one Sierra Leone soldier. The ECOMOG field commander has promised the people of Sierra Leone that a full investigation into the matter will be released soon.
Statement by Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji
Ambassador Oluyemi Adeniji has given a statement refuting remarks in a speech by Chairman Foday Sankoh in Makeni, saying that his remarks will only incite his audience against the peace process. Ambassador Adeniji recalled Article XVI of the Lomé Agreement, providing for a neutral peacekeeping force composed of ECOMOG troops and United Nations troops. Security Council resolution 1270, which created UNAMSIL, merely responded to the Lomé Agreement. He stressed that the mandate of the UN was to invest in helping any member state in conflict to re-establish peace, security and good governance which will enable all it’s citizens to devote their energies to developmental activities. At this stage it was important that it should be the priority of all Sierra Leone leaders, especially those who have primary influence on those causing obstruction to the peace process to remove these obstacles.
Inclusion of RUF within the NCRRR Structure
The Chairman of NCRRR announced that there are discussions which way for the possibility of having RUF personnel within the NCRRR structure at various levels especially at Regional and District Offices. The argument for this move is to facilitate humanitarian access to areas which are still under rebel control.
Security remains relatively stable since the last reporting period with no significant improvement. A recent assessment mission planned to Makeni had to be postponed due to the incident surrounding the Kenyan peacekeepers. The trip is now planned to take place on 9 February and will lead to the renewal of aid to the area if the partners and UNAMSIL can guarantee safe access.
3. Humanitarian Highlights
Access continues to be easy and safe to the South with Kambia District is an area of concern. Makeni and north of Makeni still remain shaky with proper security clearance need before travel to these parts. Kenema remains calm in spite of a large group of ex-combatants wanting to be taken into the DDR program.
B. Sectoral Analysis
Chiefdom Vulnerability Study
|District||Stable Productive Chiefdoms||Borderline Chiefdoms||Vulnerable Chiefdoms||Extremely Vulnerable Chiefdoms|
An analysis of the food situation in the country show that agencies require 7,053Mts of seed rice, there is currently only 1,735mtons available and from neighbouring countries only 3,118mtons. This shows that there are gaps in the seed rice available in the country as a whole.
A consultant for War Child based in the Netherlands, Paul Sterks started a 9-day visit to Sierra Leone on 27 January. His visit is to assess the needs of children in extremely difficult circumstances and explore ways in which the War Child International NGO can help in alleviating the plight of these children.
22 gross child violations were reported in Kenema during this reporting.
The one-off food distribution for the 4,084 IDPs in Bo township has been completed. 700 people have benefited from food for work (FFW) for the Konta road repairs. WFP verified 6,732 IDPs in Konta and has distributed 90mt of food to them .
Health and Nutrition
The Ministry of Health and Sanitation (MOHS) conducted a mission to Makeni with the aim to reactivate the Out Patient Department (OPD) of the Makeni Government Hospital.
MERLIN is taking the lead to undertake the Anti-Malaria programme by MOHS.
UNHCR has appealed to the government of Sierra Leone for help in screening Sierra Leonean refugees from Sinjay Camp in Liberia. The residual caseload of Liberian refugees remaining in Sierra Leone is about 7,000. They are currently been screened by UNHCR with the help of 5 lawyers, 40 family heads have been screened to date. Individual counselling is also ongoing for those who wish to take part in a micro credit loan scheme, teaching them how to make these projects viable and sustainable.
Water and Sanitation
The Watsan committee has resolved that only 3 types on hand-pumps should be imported in the country. This is order to standardise the replacement and repairs of broken pumps. These pumps are India Mark II, Inka Mark II and Kadia. The Watsan committee has requested that they be included in the planning of shelter and other settlements. Water Supply Division has formed a team to undertake assessment of water supply facilities countrywide.
A Consultant to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) announced plans by the council to engage in Rapid Response Education in Port Loko and Lungi. There are also plans for the construction of two new schools on Lungi.
Plan International is currently working in Grafton, Waterloo and Trade Centre camps near Freetown with over 2,000 children and 125 teachers. They will undertake an education assessment need in Moyamba district in close collaboration with the ministry.
Action Aid supports education in camps in Forecariah with learning and recreation materials. They are also involved in skills training for single parents between the ages of 18-30. Expansion to Kambia and Bombali district will come into place as security improves.
IRC is helping Sierra Leone refugees in Gueckedou Guinea with education support for 70,000 children.
GTZ has rehabilitated 11 schools in the east of Freetown and has furnished them as well.
MSF-F has a total of 181 children at the makeshift school at the Amputee camp they have a total of 7 teachers for these children. NRC has promised to assist with the education at the camp.
SAPA is engaged in rehabilitating and reconstruction of schools in the west of the country that were destroyed during the 6 January invasion. They have completed 3 schools in Freetown.
C. Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)
The NCRRR has been asked to lead the sensitisation of phasing down of IDP camps in the western area by 29 February. The food pipeline agencies are planning to stop food aid to IDPs who are currently from safe areas. The current phase down of food aid focuses only on IDPs from safe areas or those wishing to return to their homes. Resettlement rations, food for work, food for training and related projects will be provided for those who wish to resettle. Those who live in areas that are still not safe will remain in camps and continue to receive support.
The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) on a recent visit to the Rogberi Junction Port Loko District has showed interest in helping 1,000 IDPs who need food and shelter. An appeal is made for assistance from other agencies.
WFP has completed registration of IDPs in Konta with a caseload of 6,732 beneficiaries (1,213 family heads). They have approved FFW for 700 workers participating in road repairs on the Foya - Konta road.
World Vision International has completed FFAg totaling 42.75MT in Gorama, Kono to 1,000 farming families.
CARE has distributed 2,280 household kits (Pots, plates, mats and cups) in Yele. They have also provided similar assistance to Tasso Island through IMC and in Kabala through the CES.
Action Aid has put together resettlement packages for IDPs and refugees returning to Kambia district.
Cause Canada has resettlement package in place for 1000 families wishing to return to Port Loko and Tonkolili district.
ICRC/SLRC has donated used clothing and used shoes to children and war-victims at the Lakka children’s home, Amputee camp, polio victims at ECOWAS street and Grafton camp. They are also planning to make a similar distribution to the vulnerable in Kenema.
CARE rehabilitated 100 shelters Gbonkolenken Tonkolili district CI sheets, roof nails and tools will be given to Matokori and Matombothis will be followed by FFW.
There are currently 13,056 registered IDPs at the Lebanese camp.
World Vision has completed 5 bridges and 11 Miles of roads in the Kono area. IDPs from the Kono have started moving back to Kono from Splendid and Kendeyella camps in the South. The RTC is sensitising IDPs about the implications of unofficial repatriation not cleared by the government and humanitarian agencies.
The proposed new site for the IDP camp is too close to the DDR site and recommendations are being made for the camp to be taken to a different location further away from the DDR site. ADRA, ARD and CORD-SL are bidding for management of the camp.
Parade Grounds: Christian Children’s fund supplied soap making material to the camp.
Trade Centre: They are experiencing an influx of ex-combatants at the camp. These ex-combatants are reported to be harassing IDPs at the camp.
Mandela Camp: A new camp management committee has been put into place.
National Workshop: Two-day refresher training course on Watsan has been completed. IDPs at the electrical section of the camp have been causing constant trouble at the camp and management committee members at are requesting that NCRRR address the issue of their removal at the camp. There have been 34 cases of Hernia reported at the camp. 8 have been treated by MSF-F. There have been an influx of ex-combatants creating panic among residents in the camp. Care has donated 6-wheelcarts, 2-wheelbarrows, 4-rakes, 4-shovels, 4-brooms and 2-buckets. The camp is clean and a new tap has been installed.
Approved School camp: Things have been quiet at the camp and Oxfam has almost completed construction of a laundry slab.
Grafton Camp: A one-day workshop on peace building and trauma healing was held at the camp. 40 booths at the camp are leaking and Cause Canada has promised to repair them.
Waterloo camp: The makeshift camp at waterloo is now empty with all residents now at the Waterloo camp. ADRA is negotiating with WFP to include them in the feeding ration.
4. Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration
The DDR program continues at a slow pace even after sensitisation tours to key areas in the North, South and East.
Plans are being made to open two new DDR camps in the North, in the Makeni area. Two likely sites have been identified and if approved by the various government ministries, work will begin in the near future. The construction of the facilities to house the program offices and other functions will take approximately two months to complete and put into operation.
5. Human Rights
Human Rights Watch is calling on all members of the Joint Monitoring Committee to insist that all parties to the Lomé Peace Accord bring their troops under control and initiate criminal proceedings for those who disobey and continue to commit human rights abuses. They continue to call for the speedy establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and for the release of all abductees and prisoners of war.
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