Liberians Still Suffering From June 6 Heavy Fighting
By I. Solo Kelgbeh
Liberians and residents alike are still traumatized from the June 6, 2003 attack on Monrovia and its suburbs by rebel forces of the group, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD).
The five days intense gun battle between the rebels and Government forces has left a devastating scene with many casualties, atrocities and the destruction of properties.
According to the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Peter Coleman, over 400 persons died as a result of the fighting between the two opposing groups.
Despite Dr. Coleman's report, which was read during a major press briefing in Monrovia, there are other accounts, which put the number of death much higher.
The war on Monrovia and its suburbs has affected every sector including the disruption of business activities, schools, medical activities and has mainly sent thousands of people to makeshift displaced centers.
According to people who were in areas, which were attacked by the rebels, the devastating war had no clean hands. They said both government and rebel forces committed numerous atrocities including the raping of women, use of child soldiers and the massive looting of properties.
LURD rebels entered St. Paul Bridge on early Friday morning after over-running government positions in Brewerville earlier on Thursday evening.
The rebels, according to eyewitnesses, broke into stores, shops and warehouses including the Monrovia Club Breweries, Alliance Motors and other major areas on the Bushrod Island on Friday night up to Saturday morning.
Continuing, the eyewitnesses alleged that the rebels then invited civilians to the looting party. There, several civilians died from stampede and stray bullets. In fact the first civilian casualty was Colston Cooper, an instructor of the Cathedral Catholic School in Monrovia.
Long Joe, pregnant women and some elderly followed suit.