RealNews

Liberia's Capital on Edge

Heavily-armed Liberian soldiers are manning checkpoints on the outskirts of the tense capital Monrovia, braced for more attacks from rebels fighting to oust President Charles Taylor. Military sources said rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) thrust within 15 km (10 miles) of the city centre on Thursday, sending thousands of civilians fleeing towards the coastal capital. Late on Thursday, soldiers loyal to Taylor sped out of Monrovia in pick-up trucks, clutching heavy machineguns and rocket propelled grenade launchers, while roadblocks sprang up on highways leading into the centre, clogging traffic. Taylor said on Thursday a coup plot sponsored by foreign powers had been foiled shortly after he was indicted by a U.N.-backed court for war crimes while attending the opening of talks a day earlier. Long-awaited peace talks are due to start in earnest on Friday in Ghana, where representatives of both LURD and the Liberian government have gathered this week. Full Story

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