Liberia Says Guinea Helped Dissidents in Zorzor Attack
October 11, 2000

The situation in Lofa County is characterized by accusations and counter-accusations by the Liberian and Guinean governments. In a conflict that is not covered by independent reporters, the accusations will continue for a long time.

On Tuesday, the Liberian government accused Guinea of supporting Liberian dissidents in their recent attack on Zorzor. According to a statement issued by the Liberia Ministry of Information, "the dissidents entered Bokeza with the support of Guinean tanks and artillery and later attacked Yeala and Zorzor towns Guinean army tanks escorted the invaders as far as the bridge between Koryeama in Guinea and the Liberian border town of Yeala."

Several thousands civilians are trekking to Gbarnga as a result of the fighting in Zorzor. Sources close to LURD say Zorzor is under dissidents' control . But such claim, just like previous claims and counter-claims, cannot be independently confirmed since the Liberian government banned independent coverage of the war, and LURD has not allowed reporters to visit area under its control.

The attack on Zorzor came just two days after government sources at the Defense Ministry publicized its successes against the LURD dissidents whose supply routes the sources said were cutoff by Guinean rebels fighting the Guinean Government. According to BBC report monitored here, government airlifted tons of weapons captured from dissidents fighting government forces in Lofa county. The report said that the weapons included, "British made rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers, and bombs, AK 47 and automatic machine guns." They also claimed that the weapons "were left behind by retreating rebels, while others were captured in ambushes."

Liberia has filed a protest with the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Meanwhile, Guinea says there has been another attack near the town of Pamelap along the Sierra Leone border. Several soldiers were wounded (and one missing) in the attack. In September, cross-border attacks on Massadou, Madina Oula and Pamelap prompted attack on Liberian and Sierra Leonean refugees in Guinea. So far, over 300 people have died in Guinea as the result of cross-border attacks.