MODEL's Fighters threaten to go on Rampage

By: I. Solo Kelgbeh

The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted January 9, 2004

In spite of declaring to fully cooperate with the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with respect to the DDRR program and the deployment of the international peacekeepers in its controlled area, all seems not to be well within the camp of the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL).

Several MODEL’s fighters, most of whom are teenagers, have threatened to go on the rampage if their guns are not given back to them by their commanders before the disarmament, demobilization, rehabilitation and reintegration exercise recommences later this month.

In an interview recently with the aggrieved fighters in the port city of Buchanan, they accused their commanders of taking away their guns and ammunition just a day before the deployment of UNMIL Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the area early last week.

According to the spokesman of the group, Junior Farley, he said without their weapons they are not sure of getting some benefits when the DDRR resumes.

They accused their commanders of hiding the guns so as to either smuggle and sell them in neighboring Ivory Coast or give them to their (commanders’) relatives to reap the immediate benefit of the DDRR program.

"What went on in Sinkor, Monrovia, with respect to the defunct ATU fighters and their commander was just a small event. Ours will be worse," the disgruntled fighters said through their spokesman.

Junior Farley who claimed to have fought in MODEL from Maryland, Grand Gedeh and Grand Bassa counties, said they are not so particular about getting back the guns. He said if the authorities can register them to enable them benefit from the DDRR package, there will be calm.

The group called on UNMIL to intervene in the matter so as not to derail the peace process. There has been no official comment from the hierarchy of the Movement.

However, some of the commanders in Buchanan where arms have allegedly been taken from their fighters, denied the report saying "don’t mind them, they do not know what they are talking about".

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