Govt. Troops Loot and Plunder

© The New Democrat

Various militias loyal to fugitive President Charles Taylor currently battling rebels for control of Monrovia have instituted looting orgies in various neighbourhoods, forcing residents out at gunpoint and the plundering their homes. One report says UN food warehouses have been looted and vehicles stolen.

The rebels, so far, have proved disciplined, urging residents to remain indoors to avoid bullets. Government fighters, on the hand, are reportedly engaged in in indiscriminate shooting to frighten residents and then plunder their homes. Those who hesitate to leave are shot, reports say.

IRIN: “The government said on Sunday it had captured 80 fighters of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) rebel movement as it retook some suburbs that had been briefly occupied by the rebels. Civilians returning to these areas reported that many homes had been systematically looted by Taylor's troops. Many residents of the capital also complained that government soldiers and militiamen had taken their cars and mobile phones.

Meanwhile, heavy fighting between rebels and Taylor’s troops erupted Sunday, according to reports. fRebels sources said their troops had withdrawn to the city outskirts following US appeals, but that Taylor’s forces took an advantage and counter attacked, causing a flare in renewed fighting that has seen bodies littered in the city’s streets. IRIN reports:

Bodies litter the streets

IRIN: “The bodies of people killed in recent fighting littered the streets of Monrovia's western suburbs on Sunday night as heavy fighting resumed between forces loyal to President Charles Taylor and rebels trying to punch their way into the capital.

"An IRIN correspondent counted 113 dead bodies lying in the main avenue that leads north from Monrovia Freeport towards the western outskirts of the city where the crackle of automatic rifle fire and the thump of mortars resumed on Sunday evening after a lull in fighting earlier in the day.

"Military commanders told IRIN on Sunday night as the battle for Monrovia recommenced that LURD fighters who had been pushed out of the suburbs of Duala, Caldwell and Twelve Farm were fighting to regain lost ground".

But rebel sources said their forces had simply obeyed US embassy appeals to pull back to previous positions when their positions were attacked, forcing then to retaliate”.

Despite the bravado, reports say Taylor is shaking with fear as his troops disintegrate in looting sprees. The fate of over a million people in the city now hangs, and a humanitarian catastrophe is emerging as UN food supplies run out or are are looted. Many of the city residents depend on UN rations.

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added by: Robert W. Kranz  June-2003