Monrovia (Fides Service) – “We are concerned for our Sisters at Buchanan” say Consolata Sisters in Harbel, some 50 km south of the Liberian capital Monrovia. “The MODEL rebels, (recently formed Movement for Demcoracy in Liberia) broke into the mission compound overflowing with refugees and stole the mission car. The militia were not violent but we fear they may return to raid and sack, especially among the refugees” the missionaries say. Yesterday, 28 July, MODEL rebels took Buchanan, the main port about 90 km from Monrovia. In the capital fighting continues between the troops loyal to president Taylor and the LURD rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy. “According to reports from Buchanan the MODEL rebels are about to march on Monrovia airport, not far from us” the Sisters inform Fides Service. At Harbel, besides the airport there is a multi-national pharmaceutics factory and a large arms dump belonging to President Taylor.
In the meantime the humanitarian situation is critical. “In Monrovia people, especially children, are dying in the streets. Food is ever scarcer and the little that remains is sold at exaggerated prices. We have no idea what is happening in the camps were there is no humanitarian assistance,” the Sisters say.
In this tragic situation the Consolata sisters are doing their best to help the refugees sheltering at their mission. “There are only five of us, two in Harbel and three in Buchanan. We decided to remain with the people because the international community appears to have abandoned them to their destiny. Where is the long promised peace keeping force?” the Missionary Sisters conclude.
Appeals for a cease fire are coming from every side. S. Egidio Community, facilitator of inter-Liberian peace talks, has issued a statement confirming its “commitment with the international community to help the warring parties to reach a swift conclusion in the negotiations with a political solution to the conflict.” LM (Fides Service 29/7/2003 EM lines 40 Words: 460)