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VOICE OF AMERICA
SLUG: 2-314336 Liberia Riots (L-O)
DATE:
NOTE NUMBER:

DATE=03/21/2004

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-314336

TITLE= LIBERIA / RIOTS (L-ONLY)

BYLINE= CARRIE GIARDINO

DATELINE= ABIDJAN

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: Fighting between a rebel group and civilians caused riots to spread through Liberia's port city of Buchanan over the weekend resulting in the death of at least one civilian. Carrie Giardino reports from Abidjan.

TEXT: The commander of the United Nations Mission in Liberia, General Daniel Opande, said a civilian died Sunday morning after being severely wounded in clashes. Others are still being treated at a hospital in Buchanan.

According to a U-N spokesperson in Liberia, Margaret Novicki, the civilian who died had triggered the riots when he attempted to take some food without paying for it. Members of the Movement for Democracy in Liberia, MODEL, retaliated against the civilian and beat him.

///NOVICKI ACT///

The original civilian was attacked and badly beaten and our troops on the ground there rescued the civilian and took him to the hospital but a commotion started from there (between) various MODEL fighters and the civilian population, which unfortunately degenerated into violence within the city. A few people were injured and shops were looted.

///END ACT///

Ms. Novicki says U-N troops restored calm to the area and a helicopter gunship was deployed from Monrovia to control the outbreak.

There are nearly 12-thousand peacekeepers in Liberia to assist with disarmament of former combatants of the brutal 14-year civil war. The war ended when former president Charles Taylor fled into exile last August.

A move towards disarmament began last December but ended quickly when former fighters protested the amount of cash incentive given for handing over their weapons.

Ms. Novicki says the U-N is hopeful that the disarmament process will begin again soon.

///SECOND NOVICKI ACT///

The disarmament process has not yet resumed. We are working on fulfilling all the conditions that have to be in place before disarmament resumes. We expect it to resume in the very near future.

///END ACT///

There are currently over 800 peacekeepers in the city of Buchanan.(SIGNED)

NEB/CG/MEM



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