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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 12:00 GMT
Liberian aid workers killed
By Jonathan Paye-Layleh
BBC, Monrovia

The bodies of two Liberian aid workers have been discovered near the south-eastern town of Toe, the government has said.
Liberian refugees
People are fleeing wars in both Liberia and Ivory Coast

The bodies of Emmanuel Sharpolu and Musa Keita, who worked for the Washington-based Adventist Development Relief Agency (ADRA), have been buried in the area because of their advanced state of decomposition, Defence Minister Daniel Chea told reporters.

Kaare Lund, a visiting Norwegian colleague of the men who was travelling with them, appears to have been taken away by rebels who retreated back into Ivory Coast after they were dislodged from Toe Town.

Concerns for the three aid workers had been mounting in Liberia and internationally for the past week.

They went missing after being caught up in fighting between Liberian forces and rebels who had reportedly slipped across from Ivory Coast.

Money

Mr Chea asked the organisation's headquarter in the capital, Monrovia, to find a way to contact the rebel Liberian United for Reconciliation and Democracy (Lurd) movement to ascertain the whereabouts of the missing Norwegian.

The team had taken a huge sum of money into the region to pay their local staff and inspect ongoing projects there.

LIBERIA'S CIVIL WAR
Unstable since 1989
Fighting spread into Sierra Leone, Guinea and Ivory Coast
UN travel ban, arms embargo on leaders
Hundreds of thousands displaced

The Norwegian aid worker who heads his country's branch of ADRA had come to Liberia to inspect projects being undertaken by the organisation when their vehicle ran into an ambush on Friday evening.

The incident left their vehicle marked, terribly charred.

When I visited the ambush scene a few days ago, bodies were scattered around the remains of the vehicle.

But it could not be immediately established whether some of bodies were those of people on board.

A Liberian soldier manning a roadblock on the highway leading to Toe Town claimed that the vehicle in question was stopped and advised against continuing on to Toe Town because of fighting there.

"The driver bulldozed his way through the roadblock" and ended up in the ambush, the soldier said.

ADRA is in the south-eastern region implementing shelter programmes for the UNHCR in addressing the plight of refugees, mostly Ivorians, crossing into Liberia as a result of military hostilities in their country.




SEE ALSO:
Refugees flee Liberia battle
07 Feb 03 |  Africa
On Liberia's front line
03 Aug 02 |  From Our Own Correspondent
Timeline: Liberia
04 Mar 03 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Liberia
06 Mar 03 |  Country profiles


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