Forty-Seven Guineans Killed
in Liberian Raid
Sept 4, 2000
Sources from Conakry, Guinea, quoting national radio, say Liberian troops this week crossed into the Guinean town of Massadou and killed 47 people while seriously wounding 18 others. Guinea has vowed to take "appropriate action."
This is the second attack on the Guinean border towns. The first was in 1999 when Liberian troops attacked three Guinean towns and killed 28 people.
The attack on Massadou, which is not yet independently confirmed, comes a day after Liberia threatened to cutoff the dissidents' supply routes which, it claims, is in Guinea. But a spokesman for the dissident group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), speaking to The Perspective, however said the town of Massadou is far from their frontlines. He said, "although the group which attacked Massadou claimed to be the defunct Lofa Defence Force, they are Liberian government troops."
President Taylor recently called on all armed factions with positions in his Government to provide men in combating the dissidents. According to the LURD spokesman, "Taylor is using the conflict between Mandingoes and Lormas as a cover to infiltrate Gio-Mano fighters into Guinea under the cover of Lofa Defence Force which exists no more. We are getting hundreds of volunteers every day transporting themselves to the front. We now have the capability to advance further."
In the 1999 attack, Guinean authorities halted reprisals after ECOWAS' intervention. Pictures of the 1999 killings repeatedly shown on national television infuriated many Guineans who demanded retaliation. President Charles Taylor this week asked Guinean President Lansana Conteh to halt the current LURD incursion which has led to the capture of several key towns in northern Lofa County. Guinea has on several occasions denied involvement in the fighting.
Liberian officials have on many occasions threatened to take the fighting into Guinea where they claim the dissidents are based. Observers believe that the fighting may spill over, particularly as Guinea claims that Liberia is training dissidents to repeat in Guinea what President Taylor has done in Sierra Leone with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels. President Taylor recently warned President Conteh "Not to play rebel business with me. I am the first major rebel in West Africa." Taylor has also added that in the event of a war with Liberia, Guinea would lose.