LIBERIA: MONROVIA: WARRING FACTIONS CONTINUE TO FIGHT
4 years ago
In a sign that Monrovia’s six-week siege is far from over – warring Liberian factions continue to battle on the streets of the Liberian capital.
The suburbs of the war-torn capital are also rife with factional battles as Monrovians continue to flee.
The latest fighting began when combined forces of warlord Charles Taylor’s National Patriotic Front (N-P-F-L) fought with soldiers loyal to rival faction leader Roosevelt Johnson.
A common sight on the streets of Monrovia – but with a new group of fighters.
This faction of gunmen have entered the six-week long fray on the embattled streets of the war-torn capital.
A self-styled group – the ‘Butt-Naked Battalion’ – have joined the ethnic Krahn fighters in intimidating and fighting the N-P-F-L who hold these barracks in Monrovia.
The Butt-Naked Battalion believe they cannot be killed because wearing no protective clothing or gear grants them more power bullets and the bullets will miss them.
The fighters are a great psychological threat to the N-P-F-L fighters in battle – who usually retreat when threatened by the scantily clad fighters.
The ethnic Krahn fighters – loyal to faction leader Roosevelt Johnson – were also seen looting in the suburbs as well as participating in sporadic street fights.
They, too, bring psychological fear onto the streets of Monrovia by intimidating their enemies with endless noisemaking and what would appear to be wanton trashing and looting.
However – survival for the Krahn has been touch and go throughout the civil war which has been off and on since 1989.
They are virtually marooned in a barracks compound in Monrovia and under heavy gun and shell-fire from N-P-F-L troops.
They have no access to aid from the Red Cross or the U-N and have limited access to food and water.
But for the civilians of Monrovia – the fighting and looting can be heartbreaking.
Thousands have fled the fighting – and thousands more continue to pack up what little remains of their belongs and flee the city.
This family has just lost a young boy in the fighting.
“Every minute in Liberia we have somebody like this dying. Every minute – we are living in a complete nightmare. There is no law and order – the people just come and do whatever they want to do and take away – and take lives away – properties, whatsoever, so we are just left with how much we have got.”
SUPERCAPTION: Civilian resident of Monrovia
The latest round of fighting began when government troops attempted to arrest Roosevelt Johnson on murder charges stemming from clashes that violated an August 1995 accord.
Johnson refused to surrender, and ensuing battles prompted a U-S military evacuation of foreigners and sent civilians fleeing to the American Embassy’s residential compound for safety.
Charles Taylor started Liberia’s war in 1989 with a rebel assault on the ethnic Krahn dictatorship of President Samuel Doe.
Doe was toppled and executed by a rival faction, one of several that emerged as the war continued.
More than 150-thousand people have died and half the nearly 3 (m) million population has been left homeless in the conflict.
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