From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, Ex Combatants Ready for Peace and Peaceful Elections
By Michael T. Kamara
Apr 24, 2012, 17:19

Contrary to the negative notion that ex-combatants are ninety percent responsible for the perpetration of violence in Sierra Leone, members of the Action Group for Peace & Development (AGPAD), have revealed their plans to champion the campaign against non-violence in Sierra Leone especially in the run-up to the November elections.

AGPAD is a formal Non-Governmental Organization created by ex-combatants and senior rebel commanders in the decade long civil war in Sierra Leone. AGPAD has a membership of close to one hundred members drawn from various warring factions including the former Sierra Leone Army (SLA), Revolutionary United Front (RUF) and West Side Boys. It could be recalled that these factions played active roles in the country’s civil war.

Cross Section of AGPAD Executives

In an exclusive interview with a cross section of AGPAD members, who stormed our Garrison Street Office on Monday 23rd April 2012, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of AGPAD, Mr. Patrick F. Sinnie, alias ‘General Sisco’ said as ex-combatants, they are very concerned over the wide spread notion that they are greatly responsible for most of the violence perpetrated in the country.


He said to set the records straight and contribute to the building of the peace process in Sierra Leone, they decided to come together and form AGPAD, an organization which he said aimed to champion the fight against violence in Sierra Leone. This according to him, they aim to achieve in collaboration with another local NGO, Mind To Change (MTC).


According to General Sisco, as former senior commanders during the civil war, they are in the right position to control whatever form of violence perpetrated by anyone. He said their voices can go a long way to stop perpetrators from committing the act.


General Sisco further revealed that, they have decided to champion the campaign against violence before, during and after the November 17 elections. General Sisco revealed that they will be touring all street corners and ghettos, where youths normally meet to plan violence and proactively prevent the act from happening.


According to Sisco, they are also planning to have meetings with political party leaders and youths to preach messages of peace. He said they will used the forums also to talk to politicians who are in the habit of using vulnerable youths to perpetrate political violence.


However, General Sisco further called on President Dr. Ernest Koroma and his Government, opposition parties, telecommunication companies, mining institutions and NGOs to assist them with funding in order for them to achieve their set goals. The retired fighter assured  that if they are well supported, they will join to ensure this November polls are conducted in a peaceful atmosphere as they will deploy their commander skills they learnt during the war to command a peaceful atmosphere all over Sierra Leone.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.