Humanitarian Crisis Hits Liberia
© All about Liberia

…Women, Children Face Starvation

By James B. Bleetan II
In Gbarnga, Central Liberia
May 10, 2002

Mass exodus of displaced from Gbarnga

The worst humanitarian crisis since heavily armed rebels of the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD), launched their insurgency against the democratically elected government of President Charles Ghankay Taylor is unfolding in central Liberia.

Thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other civilians including women and children have been rooted out of their camps created by aid agencies in Gbarnaga and its sorrounding towns and villages in central Liberia.

The IDPs also including pregnant women and the sick came under suppressive military fire power Thursday morning by the trigger-happy LURD insurgents. The LURD rebels also carried out massive looting of properties belonging to the fleeing civilians.

The escapees told our reporter in central Liberia that scores of civilians have been rounded up by the insurgent forces and indiscriminately killed on suspicion of being government supporters.

Displaced seek safety under heavy down pour of rain
Displaced seek safety under heavy down pour of rain

Our reporter in the embattled city of Gbarnga disclosed that several civilians

sustained bullet wounds and bleeding profusely without medical assistance as most Doctors and Nursing at the only referrer medical center, Phebe Hospital took to their heeds when the LURD forces launched the attack.

The Liberian government evacuated students and staff of the Cuttington University College (CUC) seven miles west of Gbarnga. The students were due to sit their mid-term the very day of the attack.

Victims of the LURD's rebels war

Many of the IDPs were residents of Liberia’s northern county of Lofa, which has been under sustained military attack by the LURD rebels since April 1999. The IDPs currently lack food, shelters, water and other basic necessities of life.

Meanwhile, latest report from the frontline indicates that gallant soldiers of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) are chasing the rebels out of areas they previously occupied in Bong County. Our reporter say, the police station and surrounding areas have been recaptured by government troops.


AP-NY-Wed May 13, 2002

© Robert W. Kranz  09-02-2002