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Heavy Fighting Reported in Liberia


Heavy shelling and gunfire continues in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, as regional peacekeepers are yet to arrive.

Monrovia awoke to the sound of mortars exploding in the city's diplomatic quarter. Observers say this is the heaviest shelling since Monday, when aid workers estimated 100 civilians were killed.

The renewed intensity of the battle has shaken the relative calm that settled over the city Thursday, which allowed civilians to venture out of buildings in search of food and water.

After a week of fighting, both food and drinking water are in short supply. Aid workers are warning of an impending humanitarian disaster in the densely populated capital.

Regional peacekeepers have been committed to Liberia, but are yet to arrive. At least two battalions of Nigerian troops are on standby, but a meeting to finalize arrangements for their deployment is not scheduled until Monday.

Rebels want to see President Charles Taylor out of office and out of Liberia. President Taylor has said he will step down, but not before peacekeeping forces have been installed.

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