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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 April, 2003, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Donors suspend aid to Liberia
The United Nations, along with a number of donor countries, has suspended humanitarian aid to several areas of Liberia because of continued fighting.

In a joint statement, the European Union, the United States and UN missions in Liberia said that hostilities between rebel forces and government troops had put the people of Liberia into the midst of a humanitarian crisis.

Displaced Liberian children in a school camp
hundreds of thousands of children live in displaced camps

The statement said that the current fighting, between the government and rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURDS, had caused tens of thousands of people to flee their homes and seek safety wherever they could find shelter.

The three missions called on the government and warring factions in Liberia to seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict, which began when rebels launched an insurgency in 1999.

They also asked that they be granted access to safe corridors so that they could provide badly needed emergency relief assistance to Liberians and Ivorian refugees.

Justice required

In March, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the Liberian Government to bring to justice the killers of three aid workers.

The included a Norwegian and two Liberian employees of a United States-based aid agency killed after being caught in a rebel ambush near the south-eastern town of Toe.

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

Displaced Liberians
The displaced will now find it even harder to get food

LURDS have been fighting for three years to oust the government of President Charles Taylor.

The conflict followed a civil war, which started in 1989 and ended seven years later, that left Mr Taylor in power but claimed 200,000 lives.

New fronts

Rebels continue to open new fronts in the current war against the government.

The latest happened this week when, according to the government, the rebels attacked the coastal Sinoe County, in the south-eastern of the country, for the first time.

Early this month aid agencies said some 14,000 Liberians, mainly children and the elderly crossed the border into neighbouring Guinea after fleeing heavy fighting around the northeast border town of Ganta.




SEE ALSO:
Liberia breaks arms embargo
27 Mar 03  |  Africa
Liberian aid deaths probe urged
12 Mar 03  |  Africa
Rebels close in on Monrovia
26 Mar 03  |  Africa


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