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Africa

2003-09-04

AFRICA/LIBERIA - TAYLOR HAS GONE BUT HIS MILITIA ARE STILL RAMPANT. CONSOLATA MISSIONARIES LAUNCH APPEAL: “ FOOD SHORTAGE IN BUCHANAN NOW CRITICAL ”

Monrovia (Fides Service)- “There is little or no food in Buchanan”, the Consolata missionaries in Harbel, 50 km south of Monrovia, capital of Liberia, tell Fides Service. Buchanan, the principal port, is about 90 km from Monrovia “It is impossible to reach Buchanan because of so many road blocks manned by the army, the rebels of MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia), and militia groups formed after the disbanding of exiled former President Charles Taylor” the missionaries say. “The latter are the most dangerous. When the President left the troops loyal to him split up into thousands of small groups all over the country. Most are very young boys led by men only a little older. These youngsters assault villages rob the people who are already poor and commit acts of violence against women ”.
Buchanan is isolated mainly because of these irregular militia. “Several international NGOs and we ourselves have tried to reach Buchanan with food and medicine” the Sisters say. “But the only items they let through is small amounts of medicine and high protein suitable for children. The militia take everything else for themselves, rice, maize flour, regardless of the hungry innocent citizens. ”
“The international force of intervention in Liberia ECOMIL has promised to deploy troops to Buchanan next week” the Sisters say. “negotiations with MODEL continue. These rebels control the port and the arrival of food supplies by ship”.
In the north there is another tragedy: tens of thousands are fleeing the city of Totota (80 km north west of Monrovia). “Whole families are on the road with their poor belonging, fleeing the violence of Taylor’s former militia” the missionaries say. (L.M) (Fides Service 4/9/2003 lines 27 words 330)

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