Accessibility links

Peacekeepers Deploying to Positions in Monrovia - 2003-08-05

Nigerian peacekeeping forces were expected to begin taking up positions in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, Tuesday. The troops arrived in Liberia Monday, sparking renewed hope among citizens and a further lull in the fighting.

Liberian Defense Minister Daniel Chea says the peacekeepers should be deployed in some areas by the end of the day, after a series of meetings with government officials.

Fighting between government and rebel forces has eased since the troops started arriving, and Mr. Chea described the situation in Monrovia Tuesday morning as "calm."

The VOA reporter in Monrovia confirms that there was no fighting in the city early Tuesday, as all sides await the deployment of the peacekeepers. Our reporter says people are out on the streets without fear of being caught in crossfire.

About 300 Nigerian peacekeepers arrived in Liberia Monday. Senior officers say they will deploy into Monrovia once their armored vehicles arrive. The vehicles are expected on supply flights sometime Tuesday.

The Nigerian peacekeepers were part of a United Nations peacekeeping force in neighboring Sierra Leone.

Aid workers are making the most of the calm in Monrovia. While the fighting raged, the city's stocks of food, water and medicine were used up. Several tons of urgently needed supplies were flown into Liberia on Monday.

President Charles Taylor says he will resign next Monday, but he has not publicly confirmed that he will leave the country. Reports from South Africa say Mr. Taylor told the South African president he will leave Liberia soon after his vice president takes power, but that has not been officially announced. Nigeria has offered Mr. Taylor asylum, and rebels say unless he leaves there will be no peace in Liberia.