Rebels Poised to Capture Central Monrovia, Heavy Bombardments in Monrovia

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

June 25, 2003

Reports from Monrovia say LURD rebels are poised to enter the city center of Monrovia. According to sources in Monrovia, LURD forces are now in Vai Town. A Source said that only the old and new bridges (Gabriel Tucker and Waterside bridges) separate LURD and government forces. "LURD controls Duala, New Krutown, Logan Town, Freeport and Vai Town. LURD captured Vaitown at about 4 - 5:00 this morning", the source said. According to the source, president Taylor said the government forces are doing everything possible to fight the rebels but failed to give any assurance that they will repel the rebels. President Taylor also told Liberians that he is still in Monrovia, contrary to rumors that he has fled the city.

As we spoke to one of the sources shelling could be heard in the background. The source said the launchings of rockets were done on both sides. "Heavy artillery! This is my first time to hear such sound. We are desperate! Where is the international force?" - the source lamented.

There is panic in Monrovia and its environs. "People are running in all directions. People are fleeing Gardnersville, New Georgia, Barnersville, etc. Some are walking towards Habel, other try to go to the Greystone compound, but it is not open. The sports stadium and schools are filled with displaced people. No newspaper or independent radio station is operating at this time. The Catholic radio station, Radio Veritas, is close. The only radio station that is still operating is owned by Mr. Taylor and it is located in Paynesville. Because of the article written by the Telegraph, the Liberian government has expelled all foreign journalists from Liberia", the source continued. Claims by sources could not be independently verified.

Yesterday, LURD Chairman Sekou Damate Conneh said LURD was fighting to regain the territory it had prior to signing the Ceasefire agreement. He said they were launching the attack because Taylor had ordered his men to take over Tubmanburg, Ganta and other places, positions occupied by LURD prior to the signing of the ceasefire document. "We want to make sure that we maintain all our positions we held before the signing of the ceasefire", Mr. Conneh stated. "We are not attacking Monrovia, we are saying that we have to maintain our position. During the signing of the ceasefire, we were at Duala and we want to maintain that position and we will make sure to get back to Ganta because we were there and we have to be there... We will just maintain our position - where we were before the signing of the ceasefire, we will make sure to reach there and stop there and observe the ceasefire from there... We are not going to attack Monrovia because our people are there and the international community has asked us not to attack Monrovia. So we are not going to attack Monrovia, but we'll remain in the suburb."

But according to sources, LURD has advanced way beyond the areas it occupied during the signing of the ceasefire. Sources clarified that LURD was in Tubmanburg, and not Duala, during the signing of the ceasefire agreement. Both LURD and its MODEL cousins have accused Mr. Taylor of violating the ceasefire by attacking Ganta, Capemount, Greenville and Tubmanburg in what is considered a scramble for territories before the arrival of the ECOWAS verification team in the country.

Mr. Taylor is a fugitive from justice. He is indicted by the UN sponsored Speacial Court in Sierra Leone.