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Africa

2003-07-09

AFRICA/LIBERIA - WILL TAYLOR RELINQUISH POWER? UNCERTAINTY REIGNS IN LIBERIA; LOCAL AND MISSIONARY CHURCH PERSONNEL SUSTAIN POPULATION

Monrovia (Fides Service) – The news that President Taylor may accept Nigeria’s offer of asylum leaves many incredulous” a missionary in Monrovia tells Fides Service. “But there are signs that the President really intends to leave the country. Many of his supporters have been given a golden handshake. Some of his family are selling automobiles and other goods and this would seem to indicate an imminent departure”.
On 6 July Taylor said he was leaving the country and would accept President Olusegun Obansanjo’s offer to take up abode in Nigeria, although he set no date. Since then there has been relative calm in Monrovia, capital of Liberia, previously the scene of fierce fighting between troops loyal to Charles Taylor and LURD rebels Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy.
The local missionary says: “The situation of insecurity generates fear. We are all waiting for the arrival of the international force which will guarantee order if Taylor should leave. The people gave a warm welcome to a mission of US troops which came verify conditions for sending an American peace-keeping force. In the meantime, however, the humanitarian situation is worse every day. The Church is often the only institution able to help the people so sorely tried. After damage to several parishes over the past few days, local and missionary clergy are repairing the structures in order to offer the people all the help they can. It was feared that the local Catholic Church was a target but then it was clear that apart from certain episode to strike particular persons, this was not so. The situation was clarified during a meeting between president Taylor and Archbishop Michael Kpakala of Monrovia.” LM (Fides Service 9/7/2003 EM lines 30 Words: 359)

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