Sierra Leone

Pakistan is to send over 4,000 soldiers to join the UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL), UN deputy spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said on Thursday in New York. "The details of their deployment, including discussions on equipment, logistics and transportation requirements, are still being worked out," he reported.

New testimonies by refugees returning from Guinea to Sierra Leone, through the "safe passage through rebel-held territory", prove the systematic rape of Sierra Leonean women by RUF terrorists/rebels. The rebels "said they were not going to kill us, but that they would use us until they would be satisfied," one woman who was gang raped reported.

Rebel attacks on refugees returning home to Sierra Leone cast doubt on a new United Nations plan for "safe passage" through rebel-held territory, Human Rights Watch has said.

Thousands of refugees fleeing fighting in the west African state of Guinea have reported random murders, rapes, torture and other widespread rights abuses by Guinean civilians and the military.

United Nations peacekeeping troops last week took control of the strategic Sierra Leonean town of Lunsar, marking a major step in the UN's effort to occupy territory held by the anti-government Revolutionary United Front.