LURD Makes Advances Towards Monrovia?

The Perspective

September 5, 2001

The long-running battle between dissident forces of Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) appears to have intensified once again. According to recent reports, dissidents fighting the Liberian government forces in Lofa County raided a logging company in Gbopolu, a commercial town located 62 miles north of Monrovia. The latest attack is the closest LURD has come near Monrovia - outside the confines of the Lofa war corridor since the war began over a year ago.

The Liberian Defense Minister, Lt. Gen. Daniel Chea, confirmed the attack, saying that it caused "some trouble," but said the attackers were now trapped between two government battalions in the jungle."?

According to the Associated Press, an unnamed government official said "four Liberian soldiers were killed, one missing, and between 20 and 25 rebel fighters killed in an ambush by the government as the rebels were retreating from Antel."

In a BBC interview , however, Gen. Joe Wylie, LURD military advisor denied that the government forces have killed and captured several of LURD fighters.

"At no point in this war, during the entire length of this war have we lost five men in a battle Can [Mr. Taylor] put those bodies on display in Monrovia? No, he cannot do that," Mr. Wylie said.

The claims and counterclaims from both sides continue in the absence of an independent verification mechanism. The Liberian government has banned independent coverage of the war, and LURD has not allowed local and international press to visit the area it occupies.

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