Rebels call shaky truce in Monrovia
Wednesday 30 July 2003
Liberian rebels halted a 10-day bombing blitz yesterday when they called a unilateral ceasefire to allow West African peacekeepers to deploy in Monrovia.
Faith in the rebel promise was weak. They have called four truces in two months and respected none. With their leadership under sustained international pressure, there was fragile hope yesterday's pledge would hold.
After early clashes around Monrovia's contested bridges, the city centre was calm. Civilians emerged from shelters to search for water and food. For the first time in days they did not have to duck bullets.
But by late afternoon the rattle of renewed gunfire rang out, suggesting the respite might be shortlived. On a new front 60 miles to the east, fighting continued. And at talks in the Ghanaian capital Accra, Liberia's negotiator rejected the ceasefire.
Charles Taylor, the President, began an offensive to recapture Buchanan, a port city he earlier lost to the second rebel group.
The ceasefire offer from the main rebel group, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd) rebels, was that it would pull back from Monrovia's bridges to the port until a Nigerian-led peacekeeping mission arrives.
Lurd says that once the Nigerians arrive it will retreat another eight miles to the Po River - a concession the US ambassador to Liberia appealed for last Sunday. "We will stop fighting until the peacekeepers arrive, unless attacked by Taylor's forces," LURD leader Sekou Conneh said. In London, Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian President, said his troops could be in Liberia in "a few days".
However the West African mission has been stalled by wrangles over money. The US has pledged $10m (£6m) - enough to pay for just a few days' costs. The US may also contribute troops, although the details remain hazy.
Monrovia's humanitarian crisis deepens. The rebel stranglehold on the port has cut off aid supplies and UN warehouses have been looted. Frederic Bardou of Action against Hunger stood in a feeding centre filled with emaciated infants. "What is the international community wait- ing for? The final disaster? They will just arrive to collect the dead bodies," he said.
- 1 Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
- 2 Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
- 3 People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke, research shows
- 5 Muslim women's rights campaigner writes heartfelt letter to girls thinking of joining Isis
Ukraine crisis: Putin will cut gas to Europe unless Russia is paid by the end of the week
Liam Gallagher brands Kanye West 'utter s**t' during BRIT Awards performance
Isis burns thousands of books and rare manuscripts from Mosul's libraries
Missing Mexico teachers: Protests organised by union quashed in violent police crackdown
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we now know about man named as Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Ukraine crisis: 'One miscalculation, and Britain faces an existential threat to our whole being...'
£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...
£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...