LURD Rebels go on a Rampage in Tubmanburg, Civilians Wounded

By Josephus Moses Gray
Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

March 31, 2004

Despite the fact that the United Nations Pakistani Peacekeeping force in the Provisional city of Tubmanburg, 40 miles west of Monrovia, is heavily armed and backed by heavy war tanks, fighters of the LURD rebel group staged a violence protest in the city. The incident, which occurred during the morning hours on March 30, left dozens of civilians wounded, while others fled into the bush for their lives, as the rebels opened fire indiscriminately in all parts of the troubled city. Tubmanburg is formerly the stronghold of the rebel group.

Though many Liberians attribute the rampage to the delay in the disarmament process, fleeing civilians from the city told journalists that the fighters were protesting the decision of some members of LURD to replace Finance Minister Lusinee Kamara with Minister Soko V. Sackor, director of cabinet.

Openly, the protesting fighters said any attempt to replace Minister Kamara will create a major setback to the Liberia's peace process because instead of disarming, they will regroup to retake Tubmanburg and subsequently advance on Monrovia.

According to eyewitnesses, the angry fighters brandished heavy weapons during the protest before the eyes of the UNMIL peacekeepers, as civilians were seemed running into all directions, while homes and business centers were looted.

LURD deputy chief of Staff, Gen. Ophoria Diah told a news conference on March 30 that Mrs. Aicha Conneh, estrange wife of the LURD Chairman Sekou Conneh and some members of the warring faction want to replace Finance Minister Kamara, but this is being opposed by other LURD members, saying that the decision to replace Minister Kamara does not meet the approval of LURD Chairman Sekou Conneh.

Similar situation occurred in the Port city of Buchanan, Grand Bassa county, recently resulting into the death of some persons, while many homes and business centers were broken into, and properties looted by MODEL fighters. Calm has since returned to Buchanan, as UNMIL re-enforced its presence in the city.