Dissidents Poised to Take Taylor's Wartime Stronghold

Monrovia, Liberia

The Perspective

April 29, 2001

Liberian dissidents fighting to arrest and try President Charles Taylor for war crimes against the Liberian people are said to be in control of Salayea. Salayea, the location of the Lutheran Training Institute (LTI), is about fifty miles from Taylor's wartime strongehold, Gbarnga. Since the dissidnets started their war efforts in 1999, this is the first time that they have moved beyond Zorzor in Lofa County.

Dissident forces are said to also control Foya, Kolahun, Voinjama, and Zorzor. There was a see-saw game between the government and dissident forces during the week for the control of Zorzor, but the dissidents finally got the upper hand and have proceeded beyond Zorzor to Salayea.

The spokesman for the Liberian government, accused Guinea of shelling Zorzor and indicated that the Liberian government is putting together a protest letter to the United Nations for the shelling. The Liberian government also accused the Kamajor militiamen loyal to the Sierra Leone government for aiding the dissidents. Besides, the government fingers were pointed at the British government for supplying arms to the dissidents.

But due to the fact that the Liberian government has banned independent news coverage of the war in Lofa , there was no independent confirmation to verify their claims.

A former Liberian National Security official told The Perspective that the claims by the Liberian government that Kamajor militiamen are fighting for the dissidents and that the dissidents are using weapons supplied by Great Britain are bogus. He said that the claims are geared towards provoking the RUF to come to the defense of the Taylor forces as they had done on numerous occasions in the past. He added, "this is a tough gimmick by the Taylor regime for the fact that they are caught between a rock and a reinforced concrete slab." Liberia is to prove that it does not support the RUF anymore, lest the UN Security Council will impose sanctions on Liberia come May 7, 2001.

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