Liberian rebels take mining town

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

The Associated Press

MONROVIA, Liberia -- Rebel forces have taken control of a key diamond-mining town in northwestern Liberia, military officials said Tuesday.

The rebel fighters, using heavy weaponry, met little resistance from government troops when they burst into the town of Lofa Bridge three days ago, the officials said on condition of anonymity.

Defense Minister Daniel Chea said he had received reports of fighting in Lofa Bridge and other places, but declined to elaborate.

Fierce battles in another town, Tubmanburg, are reported to have divided the town between government forces and militia fighters who have waged a three-year campaign against President Charles Taylor.

Taylor has said he is being targeted by losing factions from Liberia's bloody 1989-96 civil war, backed by Guinea.

Guinea denies the charge and accuses Liberia of supporting its own dissidents, as well as Sierra Leonean rebels who have attacked Guinean villages in the past.

A former warlord, Taylor started the civil war that killed 200,000 people.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: