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thedrifter
07-21-03, 08:52 AM
U.S. military sends 41 Marines to protect Embassy in Liberia


By ALEXANDRA ZAVIS
The Associated Press
7/21/03 7:19 AM


MONROVIA, Liberia (AP) -- The U.S. military sent 41 Marines to reinforce security at the American Embassy in Liberia's war-shattered capital, frustrating Liberians who want U.S. forces to play a broader role enforcing peace.

The contingent, from the Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, departed from Rota, Spain overnight, Maj. Bill Bigelow, a spokesman at European Command in Stuttgart, Germany said Monday.

Monrovia residents, meanwhile, emerged after another night hunkered down in basements seeking safety from the most recent round of fighting in an all-out battle for Liberia's war-ruined capital between rebels and government troops.

Liberians clustered on street corners, listening to the news of the American deployment on hand-held radios.

"The coming of additional American troops is important," said Moses Smith, 32, who was among those listening out on the street. "But what we need is not those just coming to mind American property, but those who will be deployed on the ground to give us the feeling that peace is really coming."

Liberians are weary after 14 years of bloody turmoil. Many say they won't be satisfied that stability is possible until U.S. peacekeepers land in the country, founded more than a century ago by freed American slaves.

Warlord-turned-President Charles Taylor has pledged to resign and accept an offer of asylum in Nigeria -- but only after peacekeepers arrive to ensure an orderly transition.

President Bush has set Taylor's departure as a condition to sending U.S. troops.

West African nations are planning to send more than 1,500 soldiers to enforce the often-violated June 17 cease-fire. But with peacekeepers yet to arrive, Taylor has vowed to fight for Monrovia, his only remaining stronghold.

Liberians say they are fed up.

"We hold George Bush responsible for this mess," shouted a member of Taylor's elite Anti-Terrorist Unit as throngs of civilians hurried through his checkpoint Sunday.

Rebels pounded the city with mortars and pushed deeper into the northern suburbs Sunday before being repelled by government forces into the port area. The fighting, which continued into the night, sent a new wave of terrified residents fleeing with bundles of possessions balanced on their heads. The casualty toll was not clear.

In Washington, the State Department called for an immediate cease-fire by all parties and a focus on continuing peace talks in Ghana aimed at setting up a unity government to oversee fresh elections.

"Liberia's path to peace is through the multiparty peace talks," State Department deputy spokesman Philip T. Reeker said Sunday. "We also ask the leaders of West Africa to use their influence and leverage to prevent further violence, by controlling their borders and not allowing the flow of weapons into Liberia."

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the former Nigerian military ruler mediating peace negotiations in Ghana, also appealed for an end to the fighting.

Officials for the rebel movement Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy insisted they were only trying to pressure Taylor to step down.

"We're not trying to do a military takeover," LURD delegate Joe Wylie said in Ghana. "But we can help to speed things up. Since Taylor signed the cease-fire, he is running his mouth and amending his promises. We want to apply a little pressure on him. We want him to leave now."

By Sunday afternoon, French medical group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors Without Borders, had received one dead and about 90 injured civilians. A Liberian staffer also was killed when a mortar struck his home Saturday night.

The British aid group Merlin treated 30 more civilians, while the city's main John F. Kennedy hospital received more than 60 wounded, most of them soldiers. One soldier died, hospital officials said.

An International Committee of the Red Cross trauma unit in Monrovia said it has treated 100 seriously wounded patients, mostly civilians.

Taylor launched Liberian's last civil war in 1989, emerging in 1996 as the country's strongest warlord. He was elected president the following year, and now faces rebels who include former rivals from the earlier war.

A U.N.-backed tribunal has indicted him on war crimes for supporting Sierra Leone's notoriously brutal rebels.

http://www.nj.com/newsflash/international/index.ssf?/cgi-free/getstory_ssf.cgi?a0477_BC_Liberia


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

thedrifter
07-21-03, 09:17 AM
Heavy Shelling Near U.S. Embassy in Liberia
Mon July 21, 2003 09:26 AM ET

MONROVIA (Reuters) - At least 20 mortar bombs smashed into the diplomatic quarter close to the U.S. embassy compound, killing at least three people, as fighting raged in Liberia's capital Monrovia on Monday.
Witnesses said one mortar bomb crashed into a building between the U.S. embassy and a hotel in the hilly Mamba Point district, killing three civilians and injuring two more.

Another bomb slammed into the sea less than a 100 meters (yards) from the U.S. compound.

U.S. embassy officials could not confirm whether the heavily-fortified seaside compound had been hit or not.

Rebels fighting to topple President Charles Taylor battled to the two bridges which stand at the threshold of the city center, while Liberian government troops defending the coastal capital have vowed to fight to the death.

The U.S. military said it had sent 41 Marines to reinforce security at the embassy and prepare possibly to evacuate U.S. citizens as the fighting intensified. The new arrivals will bring the number of U.S. troops in Liberia to about 70.

Dozens have been wounded in the latest violence and at least five people were killed on Sunday when one of a hail of mortar bombs landed among terrified residents a few hundred meters (yards) from the U.S. embassy.

Two failed attacks by the rebel Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy in June left hundreds dead and intensified pressure on the United States to help a country founded by freed American slaves in the 19th century.

Two rebel factions hold about two-thirds of the broken country. They have their roots in the tribal hatreds inflamed by a civil war in the 1990s that left at least 200,000 dead. (Additional reporting by Alphonso Toweh)


http://wwwi.reuters.com/images/liberia_monrovia_map.gif

http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=WVILZHTORIJISCRBAEOCF EY?type=topNews&storyID=3125644


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

thedrifter
07-21-03, 11:24 AM
Liberia Fighting Leaves at Least 60 Dead
12 minutes ago

ALEXANDRA ZAVIS, Associated Press Writer

MONROVIA, Liberia - Heavy fighting engulfed the Liberian capital Monday, killing at least 60 people as mortars pounded the city in an all-out battle between rebels and the forces of President Charles Taylor. Enraged Liberians lined up at least 18 bloodied, mangled bodies in the street outside the U.S. Embassy compound, after a shell hit an American diplomatic compound across the street, where at least 10,000 people have taken refuge.


Some 4,500 more American sailors and Marines have been ordered to position themselves closer to Liberia to be ready for possible duty in the embattled West African nation, U.S. officials in Washington said Monday.


The mortar barrage came as helicopters swooped in bringing U.S. Marines to secure the American Embassy. The aircraft dropped off Marines wearing green camouflage, body armor and helmets and took off carrying between 25 and 30 foreign aid workers and some foreign journalists.


In another neighborhood, a shell hit a house, killing 18 people inside, emergency workers at the scene said. Another 27 Liberians were killed in other attacks Monday, hospital officials said.


One shell hit the commissary building inside the main U.S. Embassy compound, but no one was injured. An American journalist was wounded in Monrovia's port area, the scene of fierce fighting for several days.


Two Liberian guards working for the American embassy were wounded when the shell hit the residence complex across the street. The complexes last were hit on June 12, during a rebel push to take the capital and oust Taylor. In that attack, many were killed in the residence complex, which is packed with the tents of Liberians fleeing violence.


Liberians have pleaded with the United States to send peacekeepers to enforce an oft-violated June 17th cease-fire, and Monday's limited deployment to protect the embassy frustrated many.


With thousands of Liberians outside the compound asking when troops would come to protect them, the aid workers and journalists were evacuated. Clutching bags and backpacks, they ran up the hill of the embassy compound through the pouring rain, as Marines and embassy officials yelled, "Go, Go."


They were to fly to Freetown in neighboring Sierra Leone.


One of those being evacuated, aid worker Eleanor Monbiot of World Vision, said that since Friday her organization had to stop food distribution because workers were hunkered down in a compound. Tens of thousands of people have flocked to the city, desperate to escape the mortar and gun fire.


Clustered on street corners, Liberians listened on hand-held radios to news of the American Marines being deployed to defend the U.S. Embassy.


"The coming of additional American troops is important," said one man, Moses Smith, 32. "But what we need is not those just coming to mind American property, but those who will be deployed on the ground to give us the feeling that peace is really coming."


Liberians are weary after 14 years of bloody turmoil. Many say they won't be satisfied that stability is possible until U.S. peacekeepers land in the country, founded more than 150 years ago by freed American slaves.


Warlord-turned-president Taylor has pledged to resign and accept an offer of asylum in Nigeria but only after peacekeepers arrive to ensure an orderly transition.


U.S. President George W. Bush (news - web sites) has set Taylor's departure as a condition to sending U.S. troops.


West African nations are planning to send more than 1,500 soldiers to enforce the cease-fire. But with peacekeepers yet to arrive, Taylor has vowed to fight for Monrovia, his only remaining stronghold.


Rebels pounded the city with mortars and pushed deeper into the northern suburbs Sunday before being repelled by government forces into the port area. The fighting, which continued into the night, sent a new wave of terrified residents fleeing with bundles of possessions balanced on their heads. The casualty toll was not clear.





In Washington, the State Department called for an immediate cease-fire by all parties and a focus on continuing peace talks in Ghana aimed at setting up a unity government to oversee fresh elections.

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar, the former Nigerian military ruler mediating peace negotiations in Ghana, also appealed for an end to the fighting.

Officials for the rebel movement Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy insisted they were only trying to pressure Taylor to step down.

"We're not trying to do a military takeover," LURD delegate Joe Wylie said in Ghana. "But we can help to speed things up. Since Taylor signed the cease-fire, he is running his mouth and amending his promises. We want to apply a little pressure on him. We want him to leave now."

Taylor launched Liberian's last civil war in 1989, emerging in 1996 as the country's strongest warlord. He was elected president the following year, and now faces rebels who include former rivals from the earlier war.

A U.N.-backed tribunal has indicted him on war crimes for supporting Sierra Leone's notoriously brutal rebels.

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=515&e=1&u=/ap/20030721/ap_on_re_af/liberia


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

yellowwing
07-21-03, 11:37 AM
According to the maps of Monrovia, our Embassy is well away from the avenues of approach to the government center. That's probably only a smidgen of comfort to our Marines standing post.

Someone please tell me that there is an assault ship with Cobras and Harriers standing by. In being entrusted to secure our embassies, sometimes we can't help but being First to Fight.

thedrifter
07-21-03, 12:29 PM
I placed this article in the other day yellowwing.....
It might help answer some of your questions.....

We must act quickly and decisively on this matter before more are murdered.
Our men and the refuges are in serious harms way.


http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=8524


Sempers,

Roger
:marine:

yellowwing
07-21-03, 01:10 PM
Thanks for pointing out the info! Now I can sleep a bit better. I think GW is presenting the right message, "We support peace, not the current government."

I just hope those rebel knuckleheads understand diplomaticese. If not, I'm sure they will understand the rockets red glare bursting a meter above their heads!

FREDDY
07-22-03, 11:52 PM
BLAA BLAA BLAA
ONCE AGAIN WE GO INTO LIBERIA AND AGAIN FAST COMPANY TAKES THE POINT WE HAVE DONE THIS TWICE THAT I CAN REMEMBER AND WE NEVER DO ANYTHING FROM WHAT I CAN REMEMBER OF MAMBA STATION AS THE AREA WAS CALLED IT HAS NOT CHANGED AT ALL SSDD. I THINK THE REBELS SHOULD JUST GET IT OVER WITH AND BE DONE WITH IT. AND FOR US JUST TO UP AND LEAVE FORGET THEM. I CAN HEAR THE TREEHUGGERS CRYING NOW OH WELL.