AFRICA/LIBERIA - “IN LIBERIA, TAYLOR IS NOT THE ONLY PROBLEM” SAYS LOCAL MISSIONARY
Monrovia (Fides Service) – “The appeal launched by the Pope will certainly help keep the spotlight and international attention on the tragic situation in Liberia” a missionary in Liberia told Fides Service after Pope John Paul II’s latest call for international intervention during the general papal Wednesday Audience in Rome on 3 July.
“People are waiting for the arrival of an international peacekeeping force, as if they were expecting a miracle” says Fides Service source whom we prefer not to name for security reasons. “The prospect of an intervention by a US led force announced by some news agencies gave a little hope to Liberians who were resignedly prepared for the worst.”
“President Taylor now has his shoulders up against the wall and he has nothing to lose. This means there could be a door to door shooting battle which will not spare civilian lives” the local source said.
Taylor is wanted by the international community for war crimes and for support given to rebels in neighbour Sierra Leone. The American President George W. Bush recently said “Taylor must go”. “Unfortunately things are not as simple as that”, the missionary said. “The problem in Liberia is not only Taylor, it is also a whole business and criminal circle which surrounds the President of Liberia and which has every interest to keep the situation in Liberia unstable. Nor is any credible alternative offered by the rebel groups fighting Taylor, LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) and MODEL Movement for Democracy in Liberia. They are only fighting for power and control of the country’s resources” the missionary said and he concludes: “In Liberia what we have now is an ethnic conflict: with a weaker Taylor old rancour and rivalry have flared up and many are determined to settle old disputes with bloodshed. This is why Taylor’s exit in itself will not bring peace”. LM (Fides Service 3/7/2003 EM lines 26 Words: 312)
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