Shelling hits crowded suburbs in battle for Liberian capital
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Thursday 26 June 2003
Shells exploded in the suburbs of the Liberian capital yesterday, driving hundreds of people from their homes as the President's forces fought rebels advancing on Monrovia's city centre.
The fighting shattered a week-old truce and raised the prospect of a brutal end to Liberia's three-year insurgency - an all-out battle for the city of one million people, packed with hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled violence in the countryside.
The fighting on Tuesday night and yesterday marked the war's fiercest combat yet in the city. Charles Taylor, the President, vowed to crush the rebels. "This blatant act of terror will be fought all the way," he said on his private radio station, denying reports that he had fled the capital. The clashes were concentrated at the city's port, on the west side. Daniel Chea, the Defence Minister, said the front was three miles from the heart of Monrovia.
The Red Cross put out radio appeals for blood for the injured at Monrovia's John F Kennedy hospital, but shells falling on the city made it almost impossible for donors to venture out. The hospital had received nearly 200 wounded by midday. The attacks trapped families in one western district, leaving them to flee through the swamps to reach calmer neighbourhoods.
Mr Taylor's forces have lost at least 60 per cent of the country to two rebel groups, including the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, which are determined to drive him out. The President faces war crimes charges at a UN-backed court for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone.
A ceasefire reached on 17 June broke down on Friday when Mr Taylor announced he would not yield power as he had pledged. The truce had been part of a larger accord, hammered out in Ghana under pressure from west African leaders, America, the European Union and the United Nations. The pact called for talks leading to a transition government, without Mr Taylor.
The rebel movement suspended participation in the talks on Monday over what it said was the international mediators' failure to hold Mr Taylor to his pledge. The rebels insisted they were fighting only to "stabilise the situation" so that talks could continue. (AP)
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Ian Thorpe gay: Olympic swimmer comes out in Parkinson interview
Stephen Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli air strike destroys home for the disabled killing two women residents
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli PM says conflict may 'continue for a long time' as hundreds of Palestinians flee their homes
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
£40000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Dynamics CRM D...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Web Developer ...
£50000 - £67000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# R&D .NE...
£40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...