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Yearbook 1996

Liberia. Once again, the hope of peace in the glorified L. failed as fierce fighting broke out in the capital Monrovia in April. A peace agreement signed in 1995 had given the largest militia groups a seat in the government and in the governing council. In addition, the city had been filled by soldiers from various factions. The fighting began when the two dominant militia leaders, Charles Taylor and Alhaji Kromah, sent their men to arrest a third leader, Roosevelt Johnson, whom they accused of murder. Johnson's soldiers made strong resistance and were supported by two other militia recruited from the same people group, Krahn. Johnson's forces took hundreds of people hostage - Liberian civilians, Lebanese businessmen and soldiers from the West African Peace Monitoring Economic Community ECOMOG, the West African States Monitoring Group.

1996 Liberia

According to, several attempts at ceasefire were almost immediately broken, and the fighting soon degenerated into complete anarchy. Soldiers from all militia looted the city and shot parts of it in ruins. All aid organizations, including the UN, lost all equipment. Food supplies intended for civilian refugees were destroyed. Most foreigners had sought protection at the US embassy and began evacuating after a few days.

The fighting lasted well into May and forced tens of thousands of people to flee to neighboring countries. Without food or water and under severe sanitary conditions, thousands of people traveled by substandard ships along the West African coast before being allowed to land. Eventually, the fighting erupted, and in August, the parties agreed on a new peace plan drawn up by the Economic Cooperation Organization ECOWAS, the Economic Community of West African States. All militias must have been disarmed by 31 January 1997 and general elections will be held on 31 May 1997. ECOMOG more than doubles to 18,000 men. Former President of the Council, in effect President, was appointed former Senator Ruth Perry.

However, the suspicion between the militias was still great and the disarmament went slow. There is also a great deal of skepticism among the population as to whether this peace plan should really give lasting peace.

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