Liberia: Recent Documents

Liberia: Recent Documents

Liberia: Recent Documents, 1
Date Distributed (ymd): 960527

While attention to the Liberian crisis in the news media has diminished, repeated outbreaks of violence continue and the desperate humanitarian situation has not eased. While discussion continues on the appropriate form of greater international involvement, there is wide consensus among those concerned that the response to date has been inadequate, and that U.S. leadership will be essential if there is to be more effective international involvement.

This posting and the next include several recent statements and background documents, from the Africa Faith and Justice Network, InterAction, the U.S. Congress, and other sources.

Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN)
401 Michigan Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20017
Phone: (202)832-3412 Fax: (202) 832-9051


Urgent Action Now
May 9, 1996
In light of pending legislation in the US Senate and Hearings in the US House of Representatives, AFJN urges its members to:

A. Write and/or call your Representative and ask him/her to introduce a House Resolution which will seek to achieve the following:

1. Cessation of hostilities, return of safe haven status to Monrovia, Buchanan and Kakata, withdrawal of warring factions to territories they occupied prior to the signing of the Abuja Accord and adherence by the warring factions to the terms of the peace accord;

2. Adequate funding and logistical support for ECOMOG to be able to enforce the Liberian peace accord;

3. Enforcement of UN 1992 Arms embargo on Liberia as well as the enforcement of 1992 UN economic sanctions on territories controlled by warring factions;

4. Political and diplomatic support for ECOWAS efforts to end the Liberian war;

5. Asylum for Liberians currently resident in the United States who can not return home due to the war conditions.

B. Ask your senators to co-sponsor Senate Resolution 248 (S.RES.248) and to seek an amendment in the language which will leave out "Non-Nigerian" in its language as contained in Section 4 a and b.

Please feel free to call us at AFJN in case you need further information. (Copies of the S.Res.248 testimonies are available at AFJN upon request.)


Representative, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C. 20515

Senator, U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510 U.S. Capitol switchboard: 202 224 3121


U.S. House of Representatives on Liberia

The Subcommittee on Africa of the International Relations Committee of the United States House of Representative held hearings on Liberia on May 8, 1996. The hearings, which were presided over by Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.Fl), heard testimony from Hon. George Moose, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Department of State, Hon. Vince Kern, Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, International Security Affairs, Department of Defense and Lady Johne Bush, President, Liberia Community Association of Rhode Island.

Testimony of Assistant Secretary of State In his testimony, Mr. Moose stated that the United States Government "considers the Abuja Accord -- an interim government, disarmament, demobilization and the holding of free and fair elections --- the best framework for a permanent solution", to the Liberian crisis. According to him, "Despite its current difficulties, we believe ECOMOG can again become an effective peacekeeping force." Mr. Moose also reiterated the U.S. condemnation of the current fighting and stated that the U.S. Administration "now know faction leaders did not wholeheartedly commit themselves to the peace process but apparently pursued multiple strategies -- one for peace, the other for war."

The Assistant Secretary of State also stated that "Another significant factor" which contributed to the renewal of conflict "was that overall support for the peace process, including support for ECOMOG, was slow in coming and has not been at the level we had hoped would be committed."

Mr. Moose noted current U.S. diplomatic activities in light of the Easter outbreak of continued war in Liberia and explained U.S. role in pressuring the various warring factions in ensuring that "the situation in Monrovia ... be stabilized. Fighters ... withdraw from the capital and Monrovia ...once again become a safe haven. Faction leaders ... agree to abandon violence in favor of a political process for settling differences."

Mr. Moose said that the United States "will continue ... vigorous support for ECOWAS' efforts to achieve a negotiated solution to the current crisis and to reaffirm a peace process which encompasses disarmament, demobilization and the holding of free, fair and democratic elections." According to him, "ending arms flows into Liberia remains critical to halting the current fighting" and the United States is "pressing for tougher enforcement of the 1992 UN arms embargo and" is "asking other countries to join ... in this effort."

According to Moose the U.S. is "looking at ways to increase ... support for ECOMOG." He said that "If ECOMOG can demonstrate a renewed capacity to play a neutral and effective peacekeeping role," the U.S. "would be prepared to make available approximately $30 million form existing resources in equipment and other additional assistance." Moose said that "although some ECOMOG troops failed to do their duty during the recent fighting and may have participated in the looting, others performed commendably." He noted that "more than 100 ECOMOG soldiers have died in the past three weeks in Liberia defending the capital." Chairperson of Africa Subcommittee Remarks

In opening remarks, Chairperson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen pointed out that "The people of Liberia desperately want peace; yet it is the faction leaders who repeatedly choose to pursue their political objectives through violent means with a total disregard for the suffering inflicted on their fellow Liberians." She further stated that "The people of Liberia want a cease-fire and a return to normalcy." According to her "The people of Liberia want to see their country flourish once again." Ms. Ros-Lehtinen then said that "The U.S. and the international community are ready and willing to help, but only if there is a demonstrable commitment to the peace process and to a cease-fire."

...And What About Nigeria and the U.S. Senate

Meanwhile, several US Senators introduced Senate Resolution 248 towards the end of April. Senate Resolution 248 (April 22 Version) is a welcome starting point for the Congress to complement the Administration efforts in assisting the Liberian people achieve peace. However, the language of the bill creates problems when it states as part of its Resolve to " non-Nigerian West African peacekeepers," or " for crowd control techniques for non-Nigerian troops to participate effectively in a West African Peacekeeping force." (Section 4 a, b of S. Res. 248)

Certainly, the concern of Senators Feingold, Kassebaum, Simon, Leahy, Jeffords and Pell, co-sponsors of S. Res. 248, about the Nigerian role in ECOMOG is well intentioned. However, realistically speaking, there is no way ECOMOG can be effective without Nigeria's involvement. About eight out of every ten ECOMOG peacekeepers in Liberia are Nigerian. No other African country has expressed willingness to supplant ECOMOG if Nigeria decides to withdraw.

Additionally, Nigeria has been dominantly involved since August 1990, when ECOMOG intervened following the refusal of the United States to intervene militarily in Liberia to halt the slaughter of 150,000 Liberians.

According to Nigerian sources about $4 billion has been spent by the Nigerian government on its peacekeeping activities in Liberia. To now think that Nigeria can be done away with and still have an effective ECOMOG presence in Liberia in the absence of any other country in the world to replace it, is not only wishful thinking but a recipe which would condemn the rest of Liberians in the country to certain death. That must not be allowed to happen.

The penchant to punish Nigeria for its gruesome violation of human rights must not and should not be visited upon the Liberian people who have already suffered enormously. No other current war in the world has resulted in the level of destruction Liberia has known in the last six years. Almost every single Liberian no longer lives in the home s/he lived in prior to the war in December 1989. More than 200,000 Liberians out of a population of 2.3 million have died. A further 700,000 continue to live in wretched conditions as refugees, notably in Guinea and other African countries. Thousands upon thousands more are venturing out to sea to escape the mayhem which has befallen their dear country. They have been refused entry into such places as Cote d'Ivoire, where only a few days ago a fishing vessel carrying Liberian refugees was turned away. In the past the Ivorians welcomed Liberians as refugees. More than 300,000 Liberians already live in Cote d'Ivoire as refugees.

Several reports suggest that Nigerian members of the peacekeepers have been engaged in looting. However, none of them said that the looting was initiated by the Nigerians. All of the reports appear to suggest that the looting was started by the Liberian armed militia. Can anyone confidently say that no other peacekeepers in Liberia have looted except the Nigerians? Peacekeepers around the world are known to engage in rogue behavior. The setting up of brothels by U.N. peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia or the brutality committed by Canadian peacekeepers against Somalis in Somalia are a few cases in point.

ECOMOG weaknesses as were manifested in looting, the sale of weapons to various warring factions should not be viewed as obstacles. Instead attempts should be made to strengthen and discipline ECOMOG forces. These could include but not be limited to the following:

- morale boosting measures such as the updating of their
salaries arrears and perhaps even bonuses for good performance
and behavior;
- the provision of logistics to enable them to carry out their
- the provision of medical facilities so peacekeepers would
not helplessly watch as their comrades lives ebb away;
- provision of adequate housing so that they would not be
exposed to the elements.

At the same time mechanisms should be established which would ensure that provisions made available to ECOMOG are used strictly for the purpose of peacekeeping activities. Such a mechanism could include participation from ECOWAS, UNOMIL, the transitional government and the United States Embassy in Monrovia. This will ensure accountability, if the fear of not involving Nigerians is centered around the issue of accountability.

Conclusion It would be wise that support for ECOMOG does not translate into further stagnation of the Liberian peace process. Time has already run out. To salvage whatever is left of the current peace accord, all steps taken must be done so with urgency.

InterAction News Release

American Council for Voluntary International Action
1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 801
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: (202) 667-8227



The prolonged crisis in Liberia has forced nearly a third of the country's population to flee their homes and seek refuge abroad. An additional 40 percent of the population has become internally displaced within Liberia, dependent on others for their survival. The nation's infrastructure is in ruins. Hundreds of thousands of children are unschooled and tens of thousands have been transformed by the warlords into "boy soldiers."

The most recent fighting has brought the conflict into Monrovia, resulting in a total breakdown of law and order. Relief agencies and international organizations, which have been providing essential humanitarian services for the majority of the capital's citizens, were forced to leave Liberia. With their offices looted, their vehicles stolen and the lives of their staff at risk in the continuing chaos, it is not clear what assistance they will be able to provide. Relief activities in the countryside also have been disrupted by the spreading conflict.

Years of negotiations have failed to resolve the conflict among Liberia's warlords. The pleas of the Liberian people for peace continue to be ignored by those leading the various armed factions.

In order to bring an end to suffering of the Liberian people, the undersigned agencies urge:

o That the United States government recommend to other members of the United Nations Security Council the formation of a United Nations peacekeeping force which would be sent to Liberia as soon as possible. The goal of this operation would be to restore security so that conditions can be created that make possible (1) the resumption of humanitarian assistance, (2) the demobilization of combatants, and (3) a political process which will lead to free and fair election of a government of national unity.

o That the U.S. government take the initiative to see that, while units from other peacekeeping-force contributors are being mobilized, the ECOMOG units on the ground in Liberia be brought under the authority of the United Nations. After consultation with ECOWAS, the high command of ECOMOG would be replaced by personnel appointed by the United Nations Security Council. Once under United Nations command, ECOMOG would receive equipment, training and other services provided by donor countries through a fund designated by the United Nations solely for supporting U.N. security operations in Liberia.

o That those West African governments which have provided refuge to almost a million Liberians be commended and encouraged by the U.S. government to maintain open borders for Liberians fleeing their country by whatever means. Particular attention should be paid at this time to the urgent humanitarian needs of persons fleeing violence by sea.

o That the international community be encouraged by the U.S. government to provide more generous support to those West African governments assisting Liberian refugees. The U.S. government should increase its own level of support to those governments.

o That political aspects of the peace process be addressed at a senior level by the U.S. government as acceptable levels of security are achieved by the U.N. Peacekeeping Force in Liberia. It is clear that Liberians and the international community have grave doubts about the viability of the transitional power-sharing arrangement that was created by the Abuja Accords. Nevertheless, it is recognized that the cooperation of the warring factions would be a component of a successful peace process. With this consideration in mind, the U.S. government is urged to ensure that the United Nations permits a role for the Transitional Government created by the Abuja Accords, only if the warring factions participate in a comprehensive demobilization program.

o That the U.S. government take the lead in seeing that the donor community provides sufficient funds for a serious disarmament and demobilization program which will offer combatants the prospect of successful reintegration into civilian life.

o That the U.S. government, in conjunction with the United Nations Security Council, take vigorous steps to see that nations in the West African region and elsewhere comply with the existing United Nations arms embargo on Liberia.

o That the United States naval vessels currently off Monrovia, or replacements with similar capabilities, remain on station off Liberia.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency International, Africare, American Refugee Committee, CARE, Church World Service, Episcopal Migration Ministries, Friends of Liberia, International Rescue Committee, Refugees International, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, Trickle Up Program, United Methodist Committee on Relief, World Relief, World Vision US

Interaction, a membership association of more than 150 U.S. non- profit organizations, is the nation's leading advocate for international humanitarian efforts including relief, development, refugee assistance, environment, population, and global educuation.

Liberia: Recent Documents, 2
Date Distributed (ymd): 960527

While attention to the Liberian crisis in the news media has diminished, repeated outbreaks of violence continue and the desperate humanitarian situation has not eased. While discussion continues on the appropriate form of greater international involvement, there is wide consensus among those concerned that the response to date has been inadequate, and that U.S. leadership will be essential if there is to be more effective international involvement.

This posting and the preceding one include several recent statements and background documents, from the Africa Faith and Justice Network, InterAction, the U.S. Congress, and other sources.

Letter to President Clinton

>From Senators Russell D. Feingold, Carol Moseley-Braun, Patrick J. Leahy, Paul Simon, Diane Feinstein and Representative Donald Payne

May 23, 1996

President William J. Clinton
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We wish to express our deep concern about the recent tragic developments in Liberia and our belief that a new, bolder approach is needed from the United States and the international community.

We have strongly supported the role of the ECOMOG forces since their initial deployment. Given the most recent fighting, however, it appears that the West African peacekeeping operation does not have the adequate resources or capabilities to restore security to this war-torn country. In the absence of a strong peacekeeping force, the major factions have engaged in actions that seriously violate the terms of the Abuja Accord, signed on Aug. 19, 1995. Demobilization efforts have been unable to proceed as scheduled, and major armed conflict has returned to Monrovia.

We believe that a long-term resolution of conflict in Liberia cannot be effectively realized with the strong involvement of the international community and the United Nations. We, therefore, urge you to propose and advocate among the other members of the U.N. Security Council the augmentation of the existing U.N. mission into a peacekeeping force to be sent to Liberia as soon as possible. The force, which should be drawn from interested African states, including troops from existing ECOMOG forces, should be placed under the authority of the United Nations. The United States can play a role in providing appropriate transportation and logistical assistance.

In our view, the presence of a more robust U.N. force could bring about a cessation of the current round of fighting and could help create an environment in which humanitarian assistance, demobilization and implementation of the political transition process outlined in the Abuja agreement can resume.

The United States has a long an unique relationship with Liberia and her people. For this reason, we have a responsibility to take the lead in helping formulate ways to address this tragic situation. Continued hostilities in the country will only add to the humanitarian disaster and lead to increased regional instability. Accordingly, we have a compelling national interest to take a more active role in securing peace.


Russell D. Feingold
Carol Moseley-Braun
Patrick J. Leahy
Paul Simon
Diane Feinstein
Donald Payne

Note: Senators Feingold and Feinstein are members of the African Affairs Subcommittee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senator Simon is a former chair of that subcommittee. Representative Payne is Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and a member of the Africa Subcommitte, House International Relations Committee. Senator Moseley-Braun is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

OFDA Fact Sheet # 22 Liberia


LIBERIA - Complex Emergency

Fact Sheet # 22 May 23, 1996 1700 EDT

Background: On April 6, 1996, fighting in Monrovia erupted between two armed factions, Charles Taylor's National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) and Roosevelt Johnson's wing of the United Liberation Movement for Democracy in Liberia (ULIMO-Krahn). Other Krahn factions subsequently joined Johnson. The fighting came in the wake of skirmishes that followed the signing of the Abuja Accord, a comprehensive peace agreement among leaders of the main warring factions, on August 19, 1995. The accord came after nearly six years of civil war, in which more than 150,000 Liberians died, about 740,000 fled the country as refugees, and 800,000 became internally displaced.

USAID/BHR/OFDA's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) reports that fighting took place outside the U.S. Embassy on May 18, 20, and 21. USAID/DART visited the port on May 23 and discovered that twenty-six rolls of plastic shelter material procured by BHR/OFDA were missing. In general, fighting and a lack of unimpeded access, including travel restrictions at bridges and other checkpoints, have isolated areas of Monrovia from humanitarian relief personnel, supplies, and food. The World Food Program (WFP) reports that approximately 570,000 displaced have congregated on Bushrod Island attempting to find a safe haven in warehouses, schools, and near Economic Community of West African States Military Observer Group (ECOMOG) installations.

Current Humanitarian Situation: The fighting has displaced at least 80,000 people in the Monrovia area, with 18,000 - 20,000 now seeking shelter in the Greystone compound of the U.S. Embassy since fighting began again on April 29. Intermittent fighting in the Mamba Point area disrupts the daily delivery of chlorinated drinking water to Greystone. On May 20, USAID/DART, U.N. agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and Liberian officials attended a water and sanitation coordination meeting at the U.N. Riverview compound. Water supply to Bushrod Island is insufficient due to a mechanical breakdown at the White Plains water facility. The facility only has the capacity to pump water every other day because one of the two diesel engines in the plant is not functioning. The European Union has ordered another engine, but expects delivery to take six weeks. On May 23, USAID/DART assessed conditions at the Greystone compound. Approximately 25 patients are currently being treated in the suspected cholera unit established by Medecins Sans Frontieres International (MSF/I) and Action Contre la Faim (ACF). The number of severe diarrheal disease cases admitted to the unit continues to decrease. Security problems in the past few days have halted an ACF measles vaccination campaign. From May 17 - 23, USAID/Liberia, the Liberian Red Cross, and Liberian WFP staff distributed nearly 65 metric tons (MT) of food, a two-week supply, to vulnerable populations in Greystone. WFP and the U.S. Embassy have delivered approximately 2,950 MT of food in Monrovia and surrounding areas since April 10.

On May 13, a medical team consisting of MSF/I and MERCI, a Liberian NGO, entered the Barclay Training Center (BTC) where approximately 15,000 - 20,000 people took refuge when fighting began on April 6, including armed members of ULIMO-Krahn, and the Armed Forces of Liberia, a contending faction. Due to security conditions, this was the first time humanitarian organizations had been able to assess the situation at BTC since April 22. Sanitary conditions are deplorable, with septic tanks broken and sewage flowing between buildings. A total of 18 patients were in need of immediate surgery with three reported to be in very critical condition. There is also a measles outbreak. MSF/I staff members had hoped to begin a measles vaccination campaign but thus far have not been able to return to the BTC due to security problems.

Over 1,550 refugees who fled Liberia on May 5 in a Nigerian vessel, the Bulk Challenger, disembarked at Takoradi, Ghana, on May 13. The U.S. Embassy in Ghana is working with the Ghanaian government, the U. N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and a consortium of NGOs to coordinate assistance. USAID/OFDA released $25,000 in emergency funds to the U.S. Embassy to provide food, water, fuel, and shelter for the refugees. The State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration also pledged an additional one million dollars to UNHCR for Liberian refugees.

U.S. Government (USG) FY 1996 Humanitarian Assistance:
Total OFDA Assistance. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Other USG Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
TOTAL USG FY 1996 Humanitarian Assistance (to date).
.$66,252,508 -

- End --

These and other OFDA reports can be found on the USAID gopher
at: gopher://


By Judy Aita

USIA United Nations Correspondent

UNITED NATIONS -- Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali is concerned that continued fighting among the Liberian factions will lead the West African countries (ECOWAS) to withdraw their peacekeeping forces and ultimately force the U.N. military observers and international humanitarian aid workers also to leave the country.

In a report to the Security Council May 23, the secretary general pointed out that the ECOWAS foreign ministers have warned the faction leaders that if they did not return to the Abuja peace process -- especially taking the steps necessary to restoring basic law and order in Monrovia and engaging in genuine negotiations -- the ministers would reconsider their six-year involvement in the country at their August summit.

"Should ECOWAS be compelled to take the decision to disengage from Liberia and withdraw ECOMOG (Economic Community of West African States Monitoring Group), the U.N. Observer Mission in Liberia would have no choice but to do the same," Boutros-Ghali said.

The unarmed U.N. observers are dependent on the security provided by the ECOMOG forces to do their jobs.

The secretary general "is very, very worried that ECOWAS will decide that it can't do anything further and will wash its hands of the situation," said U.N. spokeswoman Sylvana Foa.

"If ECOWAS does decide it is fed up and they decide to withdraw the ECOMOG forces from Liberia, we would consider this to be catastrophic not only for the country, but for the whole sub-region," Foa said.

Of UNOMIL's 93 military observers, only 10 remain on stand-by in Freetown ready to return to Monrovia as soon as conditions permit. Another five observers, including the chief military observer, are in Monrovia to support political efforts to get a cease-fire.

The secretary general said the situation is still "dangerous and unpredictable" and he "strongly urged" the Liberian factions "to consider carefully the wide-ranging consequences that their actions during the next two months will have."

"Over the past six weeks, the faction leaders have clearly demonstrated their disregard for the aspirations of the Liberian people for peace. They have shown wanton disrespect for the United Nations, ECOWAS, and the international community," Boutros-Ghali said.

During the intense fighting in April, U.N. staff members were forced from their homes and offices and robbed and harassed while seeking safety. Vehicles were hijacked. UNOMIL and all U.N. agencies have been "systematically looted by fighters from all factions since April 6," he reported.

"The fighters cleaned out all United Nations offices, damaged buildings and looted United Nations warehouses. Some 80 percent of UNOMIL vehicles were taken and many were destroyed....UNOMIL telephones, computers, photocopiers, communications equipment and general consumable items including goods related to demobilization, were all looted," he said.

The U.N. is currently estimating the value of the loss, but it has estimated that at least three months will be needed to rebuild UNOMIL's logistic base.

The Security Council has to decide by the end of May whether to extend UNOMIL's mandate. Boutros-Ghali recommended that UNOMIL be continued for three months. His further recommendations on the future of the mission will depend on the outcome of the ECOWAS meeting in August. NNNN

USIA news reports on Africa can be found on the USIA gopher at: gopher://gopher.usia/gov/11s/current/news/geog/af/


Message-Id: <> From: "Washington Office on Africa" <> Date: Mon, 27 May 1996 16:31:32 -0500 Subject: Nigeria, Recent Documents, 2

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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