Mercenaries Allegedly Land in Liberia

Security sources in Monrovia say hundreds of mercenaries are landing in the country to help put down an incursion in the north and beef-up Sierra Leone rebel Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in their diamond stronghold of Kono.

"The whole of Roberts International Airport has been cleared of all marketers. No one is allowed to enter or sell there. Only trusted people now work there because planes are landing with mercenaries", a source closed to the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) said.

Meanwhile, dissident sources claim a number of Burkinabe mercenaries have been killed. "The mercenaries do not know the terrain. This is a different war," a spokesman of the dissident organization, Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) claimed. There has been no independent confirmation.

Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore, has admitted dispatching 700 of his soldiers in Liberia to help his "friend" Taylor win the Liberian civil war. Since then, Burkinabe soldiers have formed the core of Taylor's immediate personal security. Dr. Stephen Ellis, in his Book The Mask of Anarchy, says Taylor's NPFL forces participated in the assassination of President Thomas Sankara. Blaise Compaore became Head of State of Burkina Faso after the assassination.

President Charles revealed last week that a "trained force" will fight along side the AFL, but did not name the nature of the force. He ordered top commanders of the AFL investigated for allegedly misleading him about the nature of the war. Key commanders from the Krahn tribe, late President Samuel Doe's ethnic group, are now under suspicion for allegedly linking up with the insurgent. The Superintendent of Grand Gedeh, predominantly Krahn, has been placed under house arrest. Several other officials in Lofa County, where the fighting is taking place, have also been arrested for allegedly backing the dissidents.

A newspaper from Freetown, Sierra Leone, reported lasted week that Taylor had taken refuge at the international airport but this has been refuted. "What is happening is that the place has been fortified with mercenaries", our source said.

ress reports say the citizens have threatened to disrupt business and other activities.

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