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UN mission continues disarmament of ex-rebels in Liberia

26 April 2004 The United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) continues to disarm and demobilize ex-fighters from the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel group, collecting weapons over the weekend from about 270 former combatants.

The town of Tubmanburg, about 35 kilometres northwest of the capital Monrovia, witnessed combatants marching Sunday to pick-up points with rifles and boxes of ammunition. The group of 268 combatants included 51 women and 75 children.

UNMIL Force Commander Lt. Gen. Daniel I. Opande received weapons and ammunition from senior LURD generals Prince Seo, Alieu Donzo and Abass Kanneh, and a female general, Massa Seo, at a ceremony marking the launch of the programme in Tubmanburg.

"These weapons have fought all the wars from the border up to here. Now the guns are going to be silent once and for all, and you will not be engaged in any more fighting. I am quite sure that all the children that fought with you under your command will disarm," General Opande told the LURD commanders.

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said it was resuming full operations in Liberia, sending staff to previously inaccessible areas on the heels of UN peacekeeping troops to pave the way for organized repatriation later this year.

UNHCR has also completed the airlift of 239 Liberian refugees stranded in Mali.

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