Sierra Leone DDRR Experts Make Recommendations

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 17, 2004

Sierra Leonean experts on DDRR have advanced several recommendations to NTGL Chairman C. Gyude Bryant, aimed at building relevant institutions in the country to consolidate peace after the ultimate departure of UNMIL from Liberia; as Charles Crawford reports.

Speaking to journalists in Sinkor last Saturday at the offices of the NCDDRR, the head of the Sierra Leonean delegation, Dr. Francis Kaikai said the recommendations among other things, include strong policy issues regarding the smooth operations of the NCDDRR; technical advice to LRRRC in handling the plight of the population; the issue of providing assistance to war victims; the participation of ex-combatants in the capacity building process and other critical issues relevant to sustaining peace and stability in the country yea the sub region.

Dr. Kaikai said the recommendations, when put into action, will strengthen the NCDDRR and LRRRC to become more vibrant and organized in catering to the needs and aspirations of Liberians especially ex-combatants, adding that the recommendations cover areas that were specified by Chairman Bryant.

The documentation, according to Dr. Kaikai, also indicates technical support to be provided by Sierra Leone’s President Dr. Ahmed Tejan Kabbah to his Liberian counterpart in a bid to consolidate peace not only in Liberia but the entire sub region.

Dr Kaikai, who is also former head of the DDRR program in Sierra Leone, stressed the need for UNMIL to empower Liberians and get them involved in the decision-making process of the DDRR program because when UNMIL shall have left Liberia, it will be the citizens of this country who will be charged with the responsibilities to manage what they put in place.

“We met with UNMIL and made them to understand that Liberians are clean people who need to be part of the decision-making process of the DDRR program. We told them to encourage Liberians to get on board so that at the end of their operation in Liberia, the citizens will be able to sustain the peace in their own country,” Dr. Kaikai iterated.

The delegation who left the country last Saturday for Sierra Leone, also disclosed that some 450 Liberian ex-combatants that fled into Sierra Leone during the days of fighting in Liberia, have been disarmed and demobilized and are currently undergoing skill training programs in that country. The ex-combatants are expected to be turned over to the NCDDRR at the appropriate time according to the Sierra Leone experts on DDRR.

Dr. Kaikai’s delegation included Dr.Mustapha S. Tejan-Kella and Mr. Mohamed Sidi Bah as members. They are expected to be back in the country within two weeks with some other experts to help put in place what they have recommended to the Liberian government.

Also speaking, Sierra Leone’s Ambassador to Liberia Dr. Patrick James Foyah maintained that peace in his country is tantamount to peace in Liberia, adding “that’s why President Kabbah has deemed it necessary to dispatch Dr. Francis Kaikai and his team to Liberia to see how best they can work with their Liberian counterparts in putting into place mechanism that will sustain peace in Liberia when UNMIL shall have left the country.”

Ambassador Foyah also indicated that the sending of the DDRR experts to Liberia by President Kabbah also manifests the growing of stronger ties between two neighboring countries, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Speaking earlier when the delegation arrived on Wednesday, the head of the NCDDRR, Dr. Moses Jarbo said the delegation’s presence in the country was the result of Chairman Bryant’s visit he paid to his Sierra Leonean counterpart President Kabbah, in search of peace in the sub-region..

The NCDDRR boss also briefed the Kaikai delegation about the progress made in the DDRR process since its resumption on April 15, 2004, while commending Ambassador Jacques Paul Klein and the rest of UNMIL team for the process.

© 2004: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.