Monrovia (Fides Service) – Killing, sacking, terror. This is how a missionary stationed in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, describes to Fides Service the situation in the town for days caught in conflict between troops loyal to President Charles Taylor and LURD rebels, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy. “The fighting is mostly around the port and the warring parties are moving towards the last bridge from the port to the city centre” says the missionary. Everyone is afraid that if the bridge falls into the hands of the rebels and the government troops keep the city centre, there will be an interruption of food supplies and this will aggravate an already desperate humanitarian situation.”
“The city streets are empty, patrolled only by military trucks. The few people encountered have terror written on their faces. The homeless crowd into makeshift camps” says the missionary. “I visited one of these centres, situated in a public garden where there are about 5,000 people. They have food only for a few days; if supplies are stopped they will have nothing to eat”.
“The city is falling ever more into anarchy: if you have a rifle you make the law. Raids are the order of the day. What is needed is an immediate intervention by an interposition force to separate the warring parties, otherwise Liberia will find it very difficult to overcome this crisis” concludes the missionary.
In the meantime diplomatic efforts to try to stop the war continue. A UN mission went to Ghana to take part in talks between the Liberian parties in conflict. American President George Bush has asked President Taylor to leave; he said he should “step back so as to save his country from more bloodshed”. LM (Fides Service 27/6/2003 EM lines 26 Words: 313)