DDRR Resumes in Gbarnga

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

April 16, 2004

The long awaited resumption of the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRR) of combatants to the nation’s 14-year of bloody civil conflict started on April 15th in the Liberian Provisional city of Gbarnga, Bong County , with about 250 fighters of the Liberians United for reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebels group showing up in line with the DDRR schedule.

Gbarnga is situated in the Central part of Liberia and has been under the control of the LURD since last August when the rebel group intensified its efforts to unseat the regime of President Charles Taylor.

The disarmament exercise in Gbarnga started under a smooth atmosphere with the combatants showing up in the dozens, while Gbarnga's residents including the LURD fighters were seen in jubilant mood, chanting an anti war slogan: ‘war is over, we’re tired fighting”.

The fighters to the arms conflict in the country have said that they are ready to disarm to the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).

The momentum of the well-organized DDRR exercise in Gbarnga is unique, as there has been no reported incident at the disarmament site. The LURD fighters came with their arms and weapons from various parts of the county to designated areas, where they were picked-up and transported to the disarmament site.

Although more combatants showed up for the DDRR process, only 250 were accepted by UNMIL to be disarmed on the start of the exercise. Those who UNMIL would not carter to were told to show up the next day as the process is an on going one.

The Executive director of the National Commission on DDRR, Dr. Moses Jarbboe, told journalists in Gbarnga that about 2,000 combatants are expected to be disarmed in the county with 250 persons on each of the five days scheduled for the Bong County.

The Chairman of the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL), Chairman Gyude Bryant, on April 10, 2004, announced the resumption of the of ex-combatants of the nation’s 14-year devastating and bloody civil war.