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Tuesday, 20 March, 2001, 05:25 GMT
Liberia closes Sierra Leone border

By Jonathan Paye-Layleh in Monrovia

The government of Liberia has announced the closure of the border with Sierra Leone, shortly after ordering the expulsion of the Sierra Leonean and Guinean ambassadors.

This is the latest move in an increasingly bitter row between the neighbouring countries.

The countries have accused each other of harbouring and assisting dissidents prolonging a border conflict which has created the region's refugee crisis.

The Liberian Government said on Monday afternoon that the Sierra Leone Ambassador Kemoh Salia-Bao and Guinea's Ambassador Baba Soare have seven days to leave Liberia.

The two West African diplomats are accused of involvement in "acts incompatible with their status".

No details

The government press statement did not explain what exactly the two ambassadors had done to warrant their expulsion.

There has been no immediate reaction from the two embassies.

The Sierra Leonean envoy returned to Liberia just one week ago after spending time in the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown, conferring with his government.

The decision to expel the two diplomats has cast doubt in Monrovia about the possibility of getting the three countries of the Mano River Union - Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone - to mend fences.

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