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U.N. to Add 2,000 Peacekeepers to Troubled Sierra Leone Force

May 20, 2000|Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council decided Friday to add 2,000 soldiers to the peacekeeping force in Sierra Leone, where hundreds of U.N. troops have been held by rebels for more than two weeks.

As the council considered further moves to reinforce the mission, it unanimously adopted a resolution expanding the 11,100-strong force to 13,000 to allow for troops that India, Bangladesh and Jordan have promised will arrive in the next few days.

The Security Council decision comes despite widespread uncertainty about how the peace agreement signed in July in Lome, Togo, could be salvaged after rebels took up arms again in the last few weeks.

Rebel leader Foday Sankoh, whose fighters seized 500 U.N. peacekeepers this month, was captured Wednesday by pro-government forces and remained Friday in an undisclosed location.

Sankoh was given amnesty for any crimes committed before the Lome peace agreement was signed, but the United Nations has made it clear that the immunity does not cover crimes committed since the agreement.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have called for prosecution of serious crimes against humanity in Sierra Leone.

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