FORMER SOLDIERS STAGE VIOLENT PROTESTS FOR BENEFIT PAYOUTS

Wednesday
14:09:50
September
19 2007

FORMER SOLDIERS STAGE VIOLENT PROTESTS FOR BENEFIT PAYOUTS

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LIBERIA: Misna; Peacekeepers of the UNMIL (United Nations Mission in Liberia) and Liberian police patrolled the streets of Monrovia after a violent protest was staged last night by hundreds of former army soldiers, police, special security forces and immigration officers. The demonstrators were demanding the payment of pension benefits and barricaded the streets, throwing rocks and lighting fires. The UN forces and police dispersed the demonstrators and arrested three people, according to police sources. “Any individual who chose to ignore the principles of law by getting engaged in hooliganism will feel the full weight of the law. We cannot continue allowing people disturbing peace this way”, said Deputy Information Minister Gabriel Williams.

According to the Liberian National Veteran Commission for Disarmament, Demobilisation, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (NVDDRR), in the country there are some 23,000 former combatants of the 1989-2003 conflict, which resulted in the death of over 200,000, that have had no access to new job opportunities, constituting a potential security risk for Liberia. According to UNMIL (present in Liberia with 14,000 peacekeepers and 1,180 police agents), a total of 101,495 combatants were disarmed and demobilised at the end of last November and given $300 each with a guarantee of access to training courses for professional qualification. Only 75,000 of these have however been able to attend the courses; others, the younger former combatants, are registered in secondary schools, but some 20,000 have been left without any type of assistance. [BO]

Source by Misna


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