Demobilization: Lomé Peace Agreement

ARTICLE XVI ENCAMPMENT, DISARMAMENT, DEMOBILIZATION AND REINTEGRATION

1. A neutral peace keeping force comprising UNOMSIL and ECOMOG shall disarm all combatants of the RUF, CDF, SLA and paramilitary groups. The encampment, disarmament and demobilization process shall commence within six weeks of the signing of the present Agreement in line with the deployment of the neutral peace keeping force.

2. The present SLA shall be restricted to the barracks and their arms in the armoury and their ammunitions in the magazines and placed under constant surveillance by the neutral peacekeeping force during the process of disarmament and demobilization.

3. UNOMSIL shall be present in all disarmament and demobilization locations to monitor the process and provide security guarantees to all ex-combatants.

4. Upon the signing of the present Agreement, the Government of Sierra Leone shall immediately request the International Community to assist with the provision of the necessary financial and technical resources needed for the adaptation and extension of the existing Encampment, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Programme in Sierra Leone, including payment of retirement benefits and other emoluments due to former members of the SLA.

ARTICLE XXX CHILD COMBATANTS

The Government shall accord particular attention to the issue of child soldiers. It shall, accordingly, mobilize resources, both within the country and from the International Community, and especially through the Office of the UN Special Representative for Children in Armed Conflict, UNICEF and other agencies, to address the special needs of these children in the existing disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes.

Implementation History

1999

Intermediate Implementation

The disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) process was conceived as critical to sustaining peace in Sierra Leone. The National Commission for Reconstruction, Resettlement and Rehabilitation (NCRRR), which was responsible for disarming the various fighting groups was reconstituted as the National Committee for Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (NCDDR). The DDR process started in October 1998 and was run by UNASMIL in coordination with NCDDR. The process was comprised of four different phases: (1) Phase I- September – December 1998; (2) Phase II- October 1999-April 2000; (3) Interim Phase - May 2000-May 17, 2001; (4) Phase III- May 18, 2001-January 2002.1

According to the eighth report of Secretary General on UNOMSIL (S/1999/1003, September 28, 1999), “the Government of Sierra Leone, working in close cooperation with the World Bank, the United Kingdom and UNOMSIL, developed an operational plan for the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration into society of an estimated 45,000 fighters in Sierra Leone” (page 6). “The strength of the RUF is estimated at some 15,000, approximately the same size as the Civil Defence Force. The AFRC comprises some 6,000 men, slightly fewer than the current armed forces of Sierra Leone, which have a nominal roll of 7,000. Some 2,000 fighters are thought to belong to various paramilitary groups. UNICEF estimates that about 12 per cent of all combatants are children” (page 7).

“Under the programme, UNOMSIL would verify the eligibility of fighters arriving with their weapons at reception centres. ECOMOG, under United Nations supervision, would then collect, register, disable and destroy the weapons, either in situ, which is the preferred course of action, or at designated locations” (S/1999/1003, September 28, 1999, page 7). During the first phase, pre-discharge orientation, held between September and December 1998, combatants would receive basic necessities. They would also receive an allowance before being returned to their communities. The process was expected to take 90 days.

The implementation was designed to take place in phases (see above).

After signing the Lomé agreement and returning to Freetown on October 3, 1999, RUF leader Foday Sankoh and AFRC leader Johnny Paul Koroma met with combatants across the country in order to sensitize them to the Lomé Agreement and the DDR programme (S/1999/1223, December 6, 1999). The demobilization program officially started on October 20, 1999, and the second phase of the DDR began on November 4, 1999 with the opening of demobilization centers at Port Loko (center for RUF/AFRC and CDF), Daru (RUF/AFRC), Kenema (CDF), and at the camp in Lungi.

As of November 30, 1999, out of an estimated 45,000 combatants to be demobilized and disarmed, only 4,217 ex-combatants were registered. Those registered at demobilization centers were comprised of 658 AFRC/ex-SLA, 1,469 RUF and 518 CDF ex-combatants, with an additional 1,572 registered at Lungi (S/1999/1223, December 6, 1999, 4). The weapon to surrender ratio was about 1:4.

2000

Minimum Implementation

The DDR process was disrupted by the outbreak of violent conflict in May and June. Once the parties to the conflict reached a ceasefire agreement, on November 10, 2000, the DDR process resumed. “[T]he Executive Secretary of the National Commission on Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration, in cooperation with UNAMSIL and other key partners, has developed a draft revised joint operation plan for phase III of the programme, which was introduced to the Technical Coordination Committee of the Commission on 8 December (2001).”2

  • 2. "Secretary General Report, UNAMSIL," (S/2000/1199), December 15, 2000, 5.
2001

Intermediate Implementation

In keeping with the decision taken at the meeting of the joint committee on May 15, 2001, the DDR program was re-launched on May 18, 2001. In the meeting, the parties agreed to set up additional DDR camps, including UNAMSIL’s mobile disarmament unit. It was agreed that the RUF ex-combatants would be encamped for a period of up to four weeks, while CDF ex-combatants would stay for a shorter period. They would receive orientation briefings, as well as learn about opportunities available to them during the reintegration stage. The process was monitored by a mechanism that included CDF and RUF representatives. During the May 15, 2001 meeting, the RUF declared that it had a total of 10,000 combatants. The CDF declared a total of 15,000 combatants, a number that could increase up to 20,000, as many are not listed as combatants.3

As of the December 9, 2001 report of the Secretary General on UNAMSIL (S/2001/1195, December 13, 2001), 36,741 combatants were demobilized and disarmed (12,087 RUF, 24,456 CDF and 196 AFRC/Ex-SLA). A total of 13,500 weapons and 2.8 million of assorted pieces of ammunition were collected during the process. The demobilization and disarmament process was completed in the Kambia, Port Loko, Kono, Bonthe, Bombali, Moyamba, Koinadugu, Tonkolili, Bo and Pujehun districts, as well as in the western area. In the remaining two districts, Kailahun and Kenema, the process was expected to begin during the last DDR phase.

  • 3. "Secretary General report on UNAMSIL," (S/2001/627), June 25, 2001.
2002

Full Implementation

A joint committee on DDR, comprised of the Government of Sierra Leone, the RUF and UNAMSIL, met on January 17, 2002 and declared the completion of the demobilization and disarmament process. A total of 47,076 combatants (19,183 RUF, 27,695 CDF and 198 AFRC/ex-SLA) were demobilized and disarmed. The actual number could be slightly higher. The higher estimate is 47,781, with the RUF accounting for 19,267, the CDF for 28,051, and others for 463.4As reported in Thusi and Meek, 2003, 7,785 hand weapons, 17,180 assault weapons, 1,036 group weapons, and 935,495 ammunitions were collected. UNAMSIL had destroyed a total of 24,944 weapons as of the March 14, 2002 report of the Secretary General on UNAMSIL (S/2002/267).

Citing the NCDDA’s August report (August 2002), Thusi and Meek, 2003, report that Sierra Leone disarmed and demobilized 72,490 combatants (24,352 RUF, 2,574 AFRC, 5,953 ex-SLA, 37,377 CDF, and 2,234 others, including paramilitaries). By phase, the disarmed and demobilized include 3,183 in the first phase, 18,898 in the second phase, 628 in the interim phase, and 47,781 in the third phase. Among the demobilized, 6,845 were children. In the process, 42,300 weapons and 1.2 million pieces of ammunition were collected and destroyed.5

2003

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2004

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2005

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2006

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2007

Full Implementation

No further developments observed. 

2008

Full Implementation

No further developments observed.