Nationwide DDRR Information Campaign Launched

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted January 23, 2004

A nationwide campaign to inform commanders, combatants and communities about the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration (DDRR) program was launched yesterday in Tubmanburg, Bomi County, headquarters town of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), located 50 kilometres northwest of Monrovia.

The campaign was coordinated and organized by the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL), in collaboration with the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (NCDDRR), commanders of LURD, the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and ex-Government of Liberia (GOL) forces, UN agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including child protection agencies and women’s groups.

Yesterday’s event was the first in a new series of field visits around the country to inform and sensitize combatants and communities on the DDRR program, a campaign agreed by all parties as one of the necessary prerequisites to a resumption of disarmament and demobilization of combatants.

At the Sector Headquarters of the UNMIL Pakistani Contingent in Tubmanburg, a joint team comprising commanders of LURD, MODEL and ex-GOL, UNMIL, UN agencies, and NCDDRR provided a detailed brief to community and religious leaders, traditional chiefs and elders, and LURD ground commanders, on the procedures and benefits of the DDRR program.

“The presence of all of us in Tubmanburg, including LURD, MODEL and ex-GOL, indicates we are all committed to peace in Liberia and to the DDRR program,” said Margaret Novicki, UNMIL Chief of Public Information. “The most important thing to secure peace in this country is to ensure that the DDRR program moves ahead smoothly,” she said.

The team was welcomed by LURD Gen. Prince Ceo, who acknowledged the participation of MODEL and ex-GOL commanders, stressing that “we are all committed to disarmament.” After the briefing, the team met with over 300 LURD combatants at the LURD headquarters, where the Flomo Theater Troupe and the Musicians’ Union of Liberia communicated peace and disarmament messages through music and comedy to an enthusiastic reception. Cartoon flyers depicting the DDRR process and UNMIL deployment were distributed to the combatants.

Addressing the combatants, ex-GOL Gen. Tamba Kandeh said, “Before now, I would never have dared come to Tubmanburg, but now I am here.” This was an indication, he said, that peace had come to Liberia.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.