TITLE=U-N- SIERRA LEONE (L-0)
INTRO: The United Nations Security Council voted
today (Friday) to authorize a peacekeeping force for
Sierra Leone, the largest such force in several years.
Correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports from New York.
TEXT: The six-thousand peacekeepers are being sent to
the West African nation to help implement a July peace
agreement that calls for power sharing between the
government of President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah and rebel
The peacekeeping mission is being sent for an initial
period of six months to supervise the disarmament and
demobilization of combatants. The Nigerian-led force,
ECOMOG, that restored the elected government a year
ago, will remain in charge of security matters.
U-N officials say most of Sierra Leone's four-and-one-
half-million people have been uprooted during eight
years of brutal conflict. More than 50-thousand
people have been killed. Observers say women and
children have been the major victims of the war.
Olara Otunnu, the United Nations Special
Representative for Children in Armed Conflict,
recently visited Sierra Leone. He says the most
daunting long-term challenge facing the nation is the
crisis of young people.
//// OTUNNU ACT ///
The children of Sierra Leone have suffered
beyond belief. Many children have been
deliberately maimed with their limbs brutally
cut off. The youngest child I met, who is now
10 year old, had his leg cut off by the rebels
when he was barely two months old. Thousands of
children have been serving as child soldiers in
the three main fighting groups.
//// END ACT ////
The U-N resolution also urges the Sierra Leone
government to implement the peace pact's
recommendations to set up a human rights commission
and a truth and reconciliation commission.
Speaking with reporters, U-N Under Secretary General
for Peacekeeping Affairs Bernard Miyet said he expects
the peacekeepers to be dispatched to Sierra Leone
within 30 to 60 days. It is the largest force the
United Nations has authorized since 1996 when almost
six-thousand peacekeepers were sent to Croatia.
22-Oct-1999 14:05 PM EDT (22-Oct-1999 1805 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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