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Liberian Government Launches Counter-Attack - 2003-07-29

The government of Liberia says its forces have launched a counter-attack against rebels who seized the country's second-largest city on Monday.

Liberian government troops are fighting rebel offensives on two fronts. In the second-largest city, Buchanan, the government says its forces are trying to push rebels back after they took control on Monday. Buchanan was the only seaport under the government's control.

A larger rebel group controls the port in the capital city, Monrovia, where fighting also continued Tuesday.

Monday's attack on Buchanan by the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, or MODEL, was that group's first involvement in the current fighting. Until Monday, MODEL had honored the ceasefire agreement reached last month.

As the fighting goes on, the humanitarian situation in Monrovial continues to deteriorate.

A regional peacekepping force has been promised, but 10 days after fighting resumed there is still no firm timetable for its deployment.