Saturday, March 13, 1999 Published at 15:16 GMT
More children freed in Sierra Leone
In a goodwill gesture the rebels recieved medicines and food
Rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone say they have freed another group of children abducted during the battle for the capital, Freetown, in January.
United Nations officials say the handover of 21 youngsters took place on Friday at Newton, 24 miles (39 km) from the capital.
More than 50 children, many of whom are said to have been used by the rebels as fighters, have been released in the past week.
UN sources said that three adults had also been freed and that food and medicine was given to the rebels, in another peace gesture.
He said that his team and the rebels had discussed peace prospects.
"We all sat on the ground and discussed the way forward for an everlasting peace in Sierra Leone," he said.
Leader urges peace
The jailed rebel leader, Foday Sankoh, has urged his commanders to free all civilians but, speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa, he denied ordering a ceasefire.
"As long as I am in prison they will never obey any ceasefire. I have told the president about that."
The rebel leader denied rumours that he was taking anti-depressant medication and insisted that his commanders were listening to his instructions.
"I am discussing with them the peace accord. We have to talk with President Kabbah's government - we just have to negotiate. That is the only way - the military option will never succeed in Sierra Leone," he said.
President in talks
Last week he emerged from a meeting with the UK Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, and the Nigerian military leader, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, saying he had to come to terms with the rebels who have brought the country to its knees.
Kabbah has sanctioned talks between Sankoh and his commanders. They are likely to be held in Togo, where rebel representatives have already been discussing the peace process.