Shelling hits crowded suburbs in battle for Liberian capital

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)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing