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More Than 40 Sierra Leoneans Abducted - 2002-07-30

The whereabouts of forty-six Sierra Leoneans is still unknown, two weeks after they were allegedly abducted by armed men from Liberia. The UN Mission in Sierra Leone says it is concerned about the kidnapping, which is described as the largest to date. . Margaret Novicki is spokesperson for UNAMSIL, the UN peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone. She says the Sierra Leoneans were abducted from the Kokobu region on Sierra Leone’s eastern border with Liberia.

Ms. Novicki says UNAMSIL is not sure whether the kidnappers were members of the LURD rebels of Liberia or the Armed Forces of Liberia, because both the rebels and the Liberian army at times do not wear uniforms. She says UNAMSIL knows that the abductors were Liberians from the description given by the villagers.

Ms. Novicki says it is the responsibility of the Sierra Leonean army to patrol its borders with Liberia. She says the security situation in Sierra Leone has improved tremendously since democratic elections. But she says the most important benchmark for UNAMSIL will be when the Sierra Leone army and police begin to take over security. Ms. Novicki spoke with English to Africa reporter James Butty from the Sierra Leone capital, Freetown.