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June 9, 2003 LWR
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Liberians Flee New Fighting Near Capital, Some Aid Continues

Geneva, June 8, 2003 — Fierce fighting over the weekend near Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, has caused widespread panic and uncertainty among residents, according to reports received here from members of the Action by Churches Together emergency alliance, ACT. The flare-up follows President Charles Taylor's abrupt return from peace talks in Ghana last week, after a United Nations-backed war crimes court indicted the Liberian leader for his role in Sierra Leone's civil war. Taylor is vowing to drive rebel forces back from the capital, news reports say.

According to the Lutheran World Federation's Liberia office, Liberians from all sectors of society have been gearing up more than ever before for participation in the on-going peace talk taking place in Ghana. However, the indictment of President Taylor brought panic, with people rushing home in cars and on foot within an hour of the news. Despite the situation LWF is continuing its humanitarian work in Monrovia, and in Salala and Totota, Bong County - including food distribution, shelter construction, camp management, and agricultural activities for those forced to flee by the protracted conflict. LWR has helped LWF mount agricultural, medical and emergency work in Liberia through more than a decade of sporadic civil war.