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Africa

2003-06-25

AFRICA/LIBERIA - MONROVIA UNDER CANON FIRE, CHURCH DOES WHAT IT CAN TO HELP CIVILIAN WAR VICTIMS, HUMANITARIAN ORGANISATIONS WITHDRAWING WORKERS

Monrovia (Fides Service) – Fighting has resumed in Monrovia the capital of Liberia, between the army loyal to president Charles Taylor and LURD rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy). “At the moment we can hear the sound of shelling coming from the other side of the city” a local missionary tells Fides Service. “Probably the army loyal to President Taylor is trying to stop the advance of the LURD which has laid siege to the city for days”.
The humanitarian situation gets worse every hour. Fides sources say the “roads are full of people fleeing the fighting. Very often soldiers rob the people of the few possessions they are carrying. The military have not been paid for weeks and they take it out on the people.”
Most of the humanitarian organisations have left or are leaving Liberia, due to growing insecurity. “The weight of helping civilians falls onto the Church” Fides source says “Caritas Liberia is doing all it can but we have reached the limit. The Church has not been spared in the war. All the parishes in the outskirts of Monrovia where the fighting is, have been sacked”.
“One positive fact” the missionary says “is that the port is still open and workers of the World Food Programme which distributes food, are still here.” LM (Fides Service 25/6/2003 EM lines 38 Words: 478)

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