Fighting In Buchanan

By: J. Wesley Washington


The Inquirer
Monrovia, Liberia

Distributed by

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted November 13, 2003

Reports that filtered in the capital from the port city of Buchanan yesterday, gave a sketchy account of fighting in that political seat of Grand Bassa County.

Briefing journalists at the regular briefing meeting on United Nations humanitarian activities of the past week yesterday, the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr. Abou Moussa said they had earlier received a report of ongoing fighting in Buchanan, but were yet to know the details.

He disclosed how some aid agencies working in Buchanan had their vehicles taken away but some were later retrieved and released to the owners.

Mr. Moussa said though the situation in Buchanan will have an adverse effect on humanitarian activities depending on the gravity; “that will not stop our activities but rather slow it down.”

Whether the fighting was between the Movement for Democracy in Liberia (MODEL) and former Government of Liberia forces (GOL), or an internal fighting within the MODEL rebel group is yet to be ascertained.

On Saturday last week, some disgruntled fighters and ‘generals’ of the rebel group, MODEL, besieged the residence of their chairman, Thomas Nimely Yaya, on the IPA Road, Sinkor Old Road, to demand jobs. They even went ahead to block traffic at the Chugbor Road junction leading to IPA but the intervention of UNMIL peacekeepers brought the situation under control for the traffic to flow.

Our reporter who went on the scene overheard some of the MODEL commanders complaining that they had been marginalized and left out of jobs.

“We, who fought this war for MODEL, have not been given jobs rather those mostly from the United States were given jobs,” the aggrieved fighters complained.

Another fighter who claimed to be a ‘general’, threatened “ when the Chairman goes to Buchanan, we will tie him,” adding, “these people from America have not fired one bullet, yet they are the ones being offered jobs.”
However, it is not known whether it is these disgruntled fighters who have returned to the county and instituted these violent protests.

When UNMIL’s Chief of Public Information, Ms. Margaret Novicki was contacted late yesterday evening, she told The INQUIRER that she didn’t have any information but would check with the military officers. Our investigation continues.

Meanwhile, Mr. Moussa has disclosed that a UN convoy is expected to leave on Thursday, with food and non-food items for the people of Saclepea, Nimba County.

During a recent UN assessment visit to the area, an estimated 10,000 IDPs and about 500 Ivorian refugees were found to be seeking refuge there.

The IDPs and refugees had fled Tappita, Graie, and other surrounding villages and towns as a result of recent fighting between MODEL and former GOL forces in the area.

The quantity of relief to be taken on Thursday, according to Mr. Moussa,, are rations for one month, that is an estimated 150 metric tons, though the full ration will be taken there at intervals.

Arrangements are being concluded to secure the convoy’s safe passage through Gbarnga, Bong County, and Ganta, Nimba County, two major cities affected by previous hostilities.

© 2003: This article is copyrighted by The Inquirer newspaper (Monrovia, Liberia) and distributed by The Perspective (Atlanta, Georgia). All rights reserved.