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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 April, 2004, 10:17 GMT 11:17 UK
Liberian fighters handing in arms
Lurd rebel hands in an RPG
A rebel hands in his rocket-propelled grenade to a Bangladeshi peacekeeper
The long delayed disarmament process in Liberia has resumed after a two month information campaign.

The six-month long exercise begins in Gbarnga, a stronghold of the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).

It was postponed in February after rows over how much cash fighters would receive for their guns.

The UN expects some 40,000 fighters in Liberia to hand in their weapons in return for about $300 each.

UN special envoy Jacques Klein said the rebels are now fully behind the process.

Empty rifles

"Rather than do five or six camps at the same time and overwhelm the system, let's start with one," said Mr Klein ahead of the re-launch of the exercise.

The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia says the former combatants and their leaders have expressed commitment to the process.

UN military chief in Liberia, General Daniel Opande and Asha Conneh, the wife of Lurd rebel leader Sekou Conneh, toured Lofa country, the headquarters of the rebels on Wednesday, to assess preparations for the exercise.

"The fighters are ready to disarm and no problem will be there this time," Mrs Conneh told the BBC's Network Africa.

The UN peacekeepers aim to disarm some 250 fighters a day during the exercise.

The former fighters will still get a two-part, $300 stipend, food rations and the prospect of vocational training after handing over their guns.

Fighters handing over their weapons must first turn in ammunition and will only be allowed into a cantonment site with an empty rifle.

The UN has some 14,000 peacekeepers in Liberia.

Last year, a national reconciliation government took over following a peace deal and the departure of former President Charles Taylor into exile in Nigeria.

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