Monrovia reunited as food arrives

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The Independent Online

Tens of thousands of civilians broke through barricades on Monrovia's bridges yesterday - reuniting the capital after 10 weeks of rebel siege - in a desperate search for food and lost family members.

"Nobody opened the bridge. They just overpowered us," Moses Peter, a Nigerian peace-keeping soldier, said.

The first UN aid ship for many weeks docked yesterday at the heavily shelled and looted port, and famished civilians stranded on the government side rushed to claim their share of the food. "I haven't eaten in four days. I don't need to cook it today," Soleh Fando, 14, said while scooping up raw oatmeal and shoving it in to her mouth.

About 40 US Marines arrived on Thursday to join 200 west African peace-keeping troops already in the city. But the troops were unable to prevent widespread looting by the rebels as they retreated.