Tuesday, 23 September 2003

Monrovia (Fides Service) – “We are moving towards the installation of the transition government and the situation in Monrovia is gradually returning to normal” Father Mauro Armanino, in the Liberian capital tells Fides Service. “Since the arrival of the African peace keeping troops, humanitarian agencies can at last operate in safety and people are out and about again. The climate cannot be said to be idyllic but at least there is no longer a danger of being shot dead as you walk along the street.”
Although Monrovia is quiet, this cannot be said about the rest of the country. “Except for areas where the ECOMIL troops are present, where there is relative security, areas outside the capital are in the hands of the LURD rebels (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) and MODEL (Movement for Democracy in Liberia)” says SMA provincial Father Mauro. “Unfortunately since the departure of Taylor who governed the country as if it were his personal feud, the logic of robbing Liberia of its resources still holds. I have been saying for a long time that there is little difference between the former President and the rebels. No one has a serious concrete programme for the good of the country. All they think about is taking as much land as possible to exploit the riches, like the diamond mines just outside Monrovia” the missionary says.
“Material aid is not sufficient as a solution. In the present situation every Liberian must make an examination of conscience to overcome the culture of violence” Father Mauro concludes.
“ Buchanan Ivory Coast second port is still in the hands of MODEL” Consolata Sisters in Buchanan tell Fides Service. “The Buchanan Monrovia road is now open because it is controlled at least partly by ECOMIL. But the peacekeeping troops have not yet entered the city and the situation is still very insecure. People are at the mercy of anyone with a gun”. In fact ECOMIL is deploying very slowly outside Monrovia also because its numbers are small.
“We have still a good number of refugees sheltering at our mission and our small medical centre, although it is not large, works full time. For months it was the only hospital open. A few days ago a local NGO medical reopened centre and this means that people unable to reach our mission dispensary can find assistance” the missionaries say. LM (Fides Service 23/9/2003 EM lines 34 Words: 427)