Aid agencies leave Liberia to its fate
A two-day ceasefire was barely holding yesterday, despite the proclamation of a provisional truce, as the shelling of an army barracks continued and small-arms fire clattered throughout downtown Monrovia. All the shops and office buildings in the capital have been looted and most of them destroyed.
More than 60,000 Monrovians have been left homeless, many wandering the streets searching for food and shelter. "I pity you Liberian civilians," a Nigerian peacekeeper told a woman as she looked for powdered milk for her baby. "The warlords will never give you a chance to live a normal life."
While armed men raced through the streets in stolen vehicles, brandishing AK-47s and grenades, they no longer appeared to be menacing civilians now that most of the shops have been looted. Local Red Cross workers began to clear dozens of bodies from the streets.
The African peacekeepers vowed to put an end to the siege of a military barracks where thousands of Liberians were holed up with supporters of the warlord who sparked the current round of warfare. At least 37 peacekeepers were being held hostage at the barracks, where seven people have died from an outbreak of cholera.
Nearly half of Liberia's 2.6 million people have sought refuge from seven years of civil war in Monrovia.
After eight days of continuous gunfire and sporadic shelling, aid workers said they were pulling out because of the "absolute anarchy".
The United Nations and the Red Cross were forced to withdraw when looters overran their offices, they said, making it impossible for them to remain. "It has been a bloody nightmare," said Tsukasa Kimoto, of the UN World Food Programme. "The UN system as a whole is completely destroyed by looters."
Even Medecins sans Frontieres said it was planning to pull out its team. Like the Red Cross, the international aid group works in dangerous, violent conditions and is traditionally among the last to leave areas of conflict.
No one knows how many people have been killed in recent days, although dozens of decaying bodies have been seen on the streets and at least 20 people were confirmed dead.
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Worst Airports of 2014: Poll names Islamabad airport in Pakistan worst in the world
£80 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Liverpool: **Due to an increase in dema...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant EBD , Septemb...
£7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...
£50 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: SEN Teaching Assistant We are curr...