Artillery duels rock Monrovia

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MONROVIA (AFP) - Charles Taylor's Liberian rebels yesterday fiercely fought against West African troops close to Monrovia's port area, near the headquarters of the Ecomog multi- national task force. Hundreds of Nigerian and Sierra Leonean troops fought the rebels of the National Patriotic Front of Liberia as Mr Taylor's men apparently sought to break into the zone commanding north-eastern access to the capital.

Artillery duels with howitzers, mortars and rocket-launchers rocked the area and intensive automatic weapons fire could also be heard. A UN convoy that had planned to rescue 300 children trapped in an orphanage in the northern suburb of Gardnesville was forced by the fighting to turn round.