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Liberian Government Says It's getting Upper Hand On Rebels - 2003-02-19

Liberia’s defense minister says his government is gaining the upper hand in the fight against rebels on four fronts. Daniel Chea says the rebel group Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, LURD, is retreating in those areas, some 50 kilometers north of the capital, Monrovia.

Mr. Chea spoke with English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey from Monrovia. He said despite the successes on war front, his government will continue to pursue the path of peace. But he also said the duty of a responsible government is to defend its people at all cost, and the administration has begun putting together counter-offensive measure to contain the rebels.

Mr. Chea said his government has no interest in war because it is the people who suffer. He dismissed the alleged argument by the rebels that they are fighting to get the government to the negotiating table. He said if that were the case, LURD would not be fighting so hard to get closer to the capital, Monrovia.

Click above links to download or listen to Kotey interview with Daniel Chea.