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Liberia: Release of detainees held by MODEL

29-10-2003 News Release 03/137

Twenty-eight persons detained for security reasons by the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) were released earlier this week under ICRC auspices.

All those freed were given the choice of remaining in Zwedru, where they had been held, or being transferred by the ICRC to Buchanan or Monrovia. Prior to the detainees'release, ICRC delegates held private interviews with them to check their identities and assess their state of health.

The group was set free under the terms of the Accra peace accord, signed in August 2003 by the Liberian government, MODEL and Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD). The accord stipulates that all parties must provide the ICRC with information regarding persons detained or abducted in connection with the conflict and allow the ICRC to visit them, evaluate their state of health and help relocate them upon their release.

The ICRC has been working in Liberia since 1990 with the consent of the authorities. It provides medical support and relief assistance, carries out water and sanitation projects, visits detainees, restores family ties, promotes international humanitarian law and cooperates with the Liberia National Red Cross Society (LNRCS).

In addition to its delegation in Monrovia and its recently opened sub-delegation in Zwedru, the ICRC is planning to open a sub-delegation in Voinjama, Lofa, in the near future. A team of 43 expatriates, 300 local staff and numerous volunteers from the LNRCS currently carry out assistance and protection programmes in 11 out of the country's 15 counties.

 For further information, please contact:  

  Reto Stocker, ICRC Monrovia, tel. ++377 47 556 588  

 Annette Corbaz, ICRC Monrovia, tel. ++377 47 529 498