AFRICA/LIBERIA - AWAITED WITH HOPE AND CONFIDENCE 15,000 UN PEACE KEEPERS, LARGEST UN FORCE. DISTRIBUTION OF FOOD AND MEDICINE NOW REGULAR
Monrovia (Fides Service) – UN peace keeping troops are about to deploy in Liberia. The first UN soldiers will arrive tomorrow October 1 and at the same time 3,500 ECOMIL African peace keepers will be integrated into the UN contingent, composed of 15,000 and this will make it the largest United Nations deployment in the world.
“We are very happy that the UN troops are coming” says Consolata Sister Maria Enocencia who works in Harbel, 50 km south of Monrovia the capital of Liberia. “We greatly appreciated the work done by the ECOMIL soldiers, who succeeded in restoring a minimum of order in the main cities, especially in Monrovia and Buchanan.”
“Sad to say” Sister Maria tells us – “in the north of the country civilians are still victims of violence and sacking on the part of militia loyal to ousted President Taylor (voluntary exile in Nigeria since August). In fact ECOMIL did not deploy its men in those areas. Let’s hope the UN peacekeepers reach that region as soon as possible”.
In Buchanan, the second largest city in Liberia, thousands of refugees still shelter at the Consolata mission. “We are helping our Sisters in Buchanan who are trying to provide medical care to numerous people flocking to the small Consolata clinic” . Even after they have received treatment most people remain at the mission because they are too afraid to return home. In fact, despite the presence of the peace keeping force, homes are still sacked and looted”.
“The situation is however better than a month ago when there was fighting almost everywhere in the country. Thanks to the presence of ECOMIL, distribution of food and medicine by humanitarian agencies is now regular and people are no longer in danger of dying of starvation” Sister Maria concludes. LM (Fides Service 30/9/2003 EM lines 30 Words: 342)
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