US Marines to arrive in Liberia

Some 200 US Marines are likely to arrive in Liberia on Thursday as rebel fighters prepared to pull out of the war-hit capital Monrovia and let West African peacekeepers in.

    The Marines would be part of a quick reaction force in reserve to help Nigerian peacekeepers. Some of them may leave the country the same evening

    Diplomats in the city said they expected the Marines to land in Monrovia from three warships, anchored offshore with 2,300 Marines aboard. 

     

    Air Force Major-General Norton Schwartz, director of operations for the  United States military's joint staff in Washington, said the 200 Marines would be part of a quick reaction force in reserve to help Nigerian peacekeepers if necessary.  Some of them may leave the country the same evening, the Pentagon said.

     

    On Wednesday, US helicopters whirred overhead and two Humvee vehicles were seen in the streets. New President Moses Blah said US jets would soon start patrols to help ensure the success of peace efforts in the country.

     

    Food looted

       

    "They are hungry. We can't stop them taking food that was brought for them and not distributed."
    -- 

    Rebel official Sekou Fofana.

    Meanwhile, chaos erupted at Monrovia's port as thousands of hungry people stormed in to grab food from warehouses. This happened as rebels were packing up to leave so that  the West African peacekeeping force can move in on Thursday.

     

    Men, women and children scrambled through containers and ripped open sacks in a frantic search for any aid stocks still left. Rebels fired shots and lashed with whips to halt the chaos and stop looters running away with bags of cornmeal on their heads.

       

    "They are hungry. We can't stop them taking food that was brought for them and not distributed," said rebel official Sekou Fofana.

       

    A senior United Nations humanitarian official, who arrived to help coordinate relief for the war-wrecked city, said the UN was looking at a two-year plan to rebuild Liberia.

     

    "The situation on the ground is very desperate," the official Carolyn McAskie said. "We are very concerned about the large number of displaced people and those in their homes who have no access to food."

     

    The latest bout of the 14-year civil war has left 2,000 dead. Former President Charles Taylor went into exile on Monday after installing his deputy Moses Blah as the new president. Blah is scheduled to step down in October and make way for fresh elections.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    Revival: The Muslim Response to the Crusades

    This part of 'The Crusades: An Arab Perspective' explores the birth of the Muslim revival in the face of the Crusades.

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    Going undercover as a sex worker

    A photojournalist describes how she posed as a prostitute to follow the trade in human flesh.

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    Africa is not poor, we are stealing its wealth

    It's time to change the way we talk and think about Africa.