'Monrovia is calm'.

Author:Lokongo, Antoine
Position:Liberia - Brief Article

Liberia suddenly relapsed into full-scale war in early February as rebels operating from Guinea for the past three years, threatened the capital Monrovia. President Charles Taylor, in power since July 1997 through democratic elections, was forced to declare "a state of emergency" on 8 February as government forces repulsed a massive offensive by the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy (LURID) rebels on the town of Klay, 22 miles north of Monrovia.

The rebels are demanding that Taylor steps down or be removed through war -- something that sirs oddly with what the African Union (AU) and the international community is preaching in Africa. Liberia is scheduled to hold elections next year.

Strangely, no African leader or the AU and even Ecowas has condemned the rebel activities.

The international community, likewise, has been silent. Tony Blair was in Sierra Leone (just across the border) when the rebels were threatening Monrovia, and though his recent visit to West Africa was to "support democracy and good governance in Africa", the British prime minister chose to say nothing about the situation in Liberia.

In a letter to New African, a concerned reader asked: "Is it the wish of the African leaders that Liberia remains a single territorial and sovereign entity? How long can the leaders in the sub-region continue to bury their heads in the sand like the proverbial ostrich and ignore 'the fire next door'? How far is the collective 'national security' or sub-regional security interest being served by the current situation in Liberia? What is the precedence being set in the sub-region if a democratically elected government 'is...

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