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Barclay Training Center

During the 1980s the LNG Brigade, usually referred to as the army or the AFL Brigade, was the heart of the ground forces. Headquartered at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia, the brigade was composed of six infantry battalions, an engineer battalion, a field artillery battalion, and a support battalion. Soldiers attached to other infantry units -- the Third Infantry Battalion based at the BTC, the Fourth Infantry Battalion at Zwedru in Grand Gedeh County, and the Fifth Infantry Battalion at Gbarnga in Bong County -- served mostly as auxiliary personnel.

The 1996 fighting was a continuation of the long-running dispute between the major factions in Liberia. The largest faction - the National Patriotic Force of Liberia [NPFL] - was led by Charles Taylor and is fighting various ethnic Krahn factions including supporters of Roosevelt Johnson who is the former head of the United Liberation Movement. Much of the fighting took place around an area centered on the Barclay Training Center in downtown Monrovia. On 13 May 1996, a medical team consisting of MSF/I and MERCI, a Liberian non-governmental organization (NGO), entered the Barclay Training Center (BTC) where approximately 15,000 - 20,000 people took refuge when fighting began on April 6, including armed members of ULIMO-Krahn, and the Armed Forces of Liberia, a contending faction. Due to security conditions, this was the first time humanitarian organizations have been able to assess the situation at BTC since April 22. Sanitary conditions were deplorable, with septic tanks broken and sewerage free flowing between buildings. About 30 ECOMOG peacekeepers were held hostage at the Barclay Training Center and that three of their armored personnel carriers were also captured. The standoff at the Barclay Training Center was resolved when the fighters of Roosevelt Johnson's ULIMO-J left the center unarmed. The ULIMO faction accepted the cease-fire plan, which called for a buffer zone around Barclay Training Center, where Roosevelt Johnson and his troops barricaded themselves from government troops. Rival faction leader Charles Taylor, had proclaimed himself Liberia's president, had said that he would accept a cease-fire if the buffer zone is put in place.



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