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More Marines Sent to Augment Embassy Security in Liberia

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS030722-10

Release Date: 7/22/2003 11:17:00 AM

By Chief Journalist (SW) Dan Smithyman, Naval Station Rota Public Affairs

ROTA, Spain (NNS) -- Forty-one more Marines were sent to Monrovia, Liberia, the morning of July 21, at the request of the U.S. ambassador. The Marines are part of Rota's Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST).

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered the additional security personnel to the U.S. embassy in Liberia to augment team members and Marine embassy guards already there.

The FAST is specifically designed to respond to short-notice missions to increase security in the region. The Associated Press reported the embassy had taken mortar fire, although no one at the embassy was injured.

A 31-man inspection team left from Rota July 7 to conduct an assessment of humanitarian needs in Liberia. The team consisted of 15 Marines responsible for guarding a Humanitarian Assistance Team made up of 16 inspectors, a group of engineers, doctors, logisticians, civil affairs and public affairs personnel, mostly from U.S. Naval Forces Europe headquartered in London.

Since then, violence has broken out in Liberia between government forces and rebels looking to oust Liberian president Charles Taylor.

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