Is LURD Ready for Peace?

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia

Posted May 29, 2002

The Liberian dissidents group fighting to oust Charles Taylor from power says it is ready for peace, but it wants Mr. Taylor out. In a Press Release purportedly issued from Voinjama on May 28, 2002, LURD wrote:

"In view of genuine appeals and repeated calls from the United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, the Inter-Religious Council of Liberia, international institutions and the Liberian populace in general, we, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURD) have elected to reduce and, or halt our military activities in the country with immediate effect. This is done with the view of providing the international community, particularly the UN, OAU, EU, the inter-Religious Council of Liberia and other international groupings the opportunity to derive a reliable solution to the Liberian situation and its prevailing consequences. However, our forces will vehemently defend areas under our full control and, retaliate should they come under any form of attack from Taylor's NPFL /NPP Monrovia regime rebel ATU soldiers."

Though observers opine that peace is only made between enemies, LURD rules out any dialogue with Mr. Taylor and asks the international community to create a safe passage for his departure from Liberia. The organization stated in the release, "We in LURD stand [for] peace and want security for our country and the Mano River Union basin which have been grossly criminalized by Taylor and his Libyan allies for the past decade. In furtherance of our sobriety and quest for peace and economic development for our country and people, we call on the international community to seize this vital opportunity in prioritizing the Liberian question by paving the way for the departure of Taylor. We are prepared to dialogue with any individual or group of Liberians except Charles Taylor who is the sole problem for the region."

LURD spoke of what many believe could be a fresh massacre of hapless civilians in Cape Mount County: “We wish to state clearly that the civilians who are massacred near the Sierra Leonean borders in Cape Mount County, Liberia are killed by the Monrovia regime ruthless ATU rebel soldiers on the orders of Taylor. We strongly condemn this ugly act and call on the international community to prevail on the Taylor regime to respect the civilian dimension relative to protection in armed conflict. We want the world to know that looting, massacres and extra judicial killings are trademarks of Charles Taylor and his followers. Taylor and his evil forces have been doing this for the last decade.”

With respect to territories under its control, LURD claims, “At the moment, LURD's forces have under control Lofa, Gbarpolu, Bomi Counties and key areas in central Liberia. Suehn, B.F Goodrich Rubber Plantation and surroundings close to Bong Mines are also under our forces full control. These latter areas are battle frontlines which are striking distances from the capital, Monrovia.”

Claims and counter-claims in this war cannot be independently verified.

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