A battalion of Kenyan peacekeepers yesterday made the journey by road from Freetown to Makeni, marking the first step towards setting up a disarmament and demobilization camp in that city, the United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) said in a press release issued in Freetown.
Local commanders from the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) initially objected to the soldiers' movement, but their objections were "not serious," according to UNAMSIL, and the Kenyan battalion is now encamped at Makeni and patrolling the area.
The spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said today in New York that the troops will move next to Magburaka, while additional troops will follow the first deployment to Makeni.
Nigerian peacekeepers are now stationed in Port Loko and Lungi and Ghanaian troops in Daru. More soldiers from Ghana are on the way from Freetown to Bo and Kenema, while UN military observers from nearly 30 countries are also patrolling the country, UNAMSIL said.
The opening of the roads, a key part of UNAMSIL's mandate, will also facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, the statement added.