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Last Updated: Friday, 27 June, 2003, 16:57 GMT 17:57 UK
Eyewitness: Monrovia mother's search
Beatrice is a 32-year-old wife and mother, resident in the Liberian capital, Monrovia. She tells BBC News Online how the fierce fighting of the past few days has affected her family.


My family are missing. I am so confused and worried because I don't know their whereabouts.

It all started on Sunday when I left my husband James, 40, and my daughter Agnes, 4, and my son Jim, 8, in Clara Town to go in search of food across the bridge (to Bushrod Island).

In my absence the fighting took place and I could not go back home to my family. My husband's phone is switched off.

Click below to see a map of fighting and refugee movements in and around Monrovia

Rockets are dropping everywhere and people were dying there.

I am in Mamba Point [near the US embassy] with friends. Where I am, a rocket dropped three days ago and I counted about 21 people who were killed.

The food is very expensive - for a bag of 150 kg of rice you pay $40. Even candles are very expensive. We do not have electricity and a candle is about 10 Liberian dollars or two candles for 15 Liberian dollars (20 US cents).

I cannot contact the Red Cross because the local radio news said that their offices have been looted.

Left to die

Three days ago I tried to go but when I heard the city centre was being bombarded I was frightened and decided to stay where I am.

I tried again on Friday morning, but I saw smoke coming from Bushrod Island and there are soldiers everywhere. All are heavily armed.

Check-point
Civilians suffer while the militias fight each other

Life is very difficult for us. The people who are fighting want us to suffer.

They are destroying the lives of innocent people. For me there will be no peace. Why are they killing us? Why is the international community not doing anything? Because we are black?

In the street I saw many bodies - some of them were of pregnant women and children. What a pity.

Thursday I went to pick up some food in town. But I left it there because I witnessed one innocent young man about 20 - 25 years-old being hit by a rocket.

He was just left there dying because everyone ran away afraid of being hit by a rocket.

Harmless civilians

I see [President Charles] Taylor's men very heavily armed. They are everywhere.

You know we, the Liberian people, thought that after the removal of Samuel Doe in 1990, Charles Taylor was a solution to the Liberian problem.

We have gone 13 years now and life has gone backwards. We have achieved nothing.

Look at me now. I should be happy with my husband and my children. Now I cannot locate them.

I do not want even to imagine about what might have happened to them.

I don't know what the international community is doing.

What are the human rights organisations doing? We are harmless civilians. Should we die because of one person?





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