April 22, 1996 in Nation/World

Liberian Rebels Free More Foreigners; U.S. Aid And Delegation On The Way


Rebels in a military complex released another group of foreigners and Liberians on Sunday, while peacekeepers fanned out in the capital to police a truce that followed two weeks bloodshed and chaos.

A U.S. delegation was to leave Washington on Sunday with the promise of up to $30 million to try to seal the truce, the third since factional fighting broke out April 6.

The warring between forces of Charles Taylor, a member of a six-man interim government, and those of Roosevelt Johnson, a former government minister wanted for murder, is the latest surge of violence in the western a 6-year civil war.

The recent burst of fighting has left 60,000 homeless, triggered widespread looting, and derailed humanitarian efforts, causing a deadly cholera outbreak.

West African peacekeeping forces known as ECOMOG said Sunday they secured the release of another 71 foreigners and 56 Liberians from an army training complex where Johnson’s men were holed up with thousands of refugees and some hostages.

While the refugees are free to leave, many are afraid to venture into the streets, where there is still sporadic shelling, while others have no place to return to because their homes were destroyed in the fighting.

Under the truce reached Friday, Johnson was to release all hostages, but there was no word on the 37 mostly Nigerian ECOMOG troops his men were holding.

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