Jordan to Send More Peacekeepers to Sierra Leone, Libya Helicopters to Evacuate Injured UN Troops

Published May 19th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Jordan will send more men to Sierra Leone "very soon" to join UN peacekeeping forces there, a military spokesman announced Thursday. 

The spokesman, quoted on state television, did not give any figure for the new contingent, but said they would bring the total number of Jordanians serving with the UN mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, to nearly 2,000. 

He said the decision to send them had been taken by King Abdullah II in answer to a request from the United Nations. 

UNAMSIL currently has about 10,000 men, from seven countries, and aims to end up with just over 11,000. 

Meanwhile, Libya sent helicopters belonging to its civilian air fleet to Liberia Thursday to help evacuated wounded UN peacekeepers released by Sierra Leonean rebels, Libyan state television reported. 

It did not say how many helicopters had gone to Foya airport, nor where they would be taken to. 

"The gesture is a response to African and international appeals to Libya for it to intervene to obtain the release of the UN forces" held by the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), the television said. 

So far 137 members of the UN Mission in Sierra Leone, UNAMSIL, have been released by the RUF to Liberia, whose president, Charles Taylor, is negotiating with the rebels to secure the release of the UN hostages. 

UNAMSIL spokesman David Wimhurst said Thursday 337 UN personnel were still being held captive.  

The UN is still demanding the immediate return of all its personnel and equipment, including weapons, taken by the RUF. 

Libyan Minister of African Unity, Ali Triki arrived in Freetown on May 6, for talks with President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah about the crisis in the peace process in the country – (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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