Liberia. According to Countryaah.com, Liberia Independence Day is July 26. The rebel force LURD (Liberians united for reconciliation and democracy), which for many years was most active in northwestern Liberia, approached the capital Monrovia at the beginning of the year. In March, LURD opened a new front north of Monrovia, at the same time as a new rebel force called MODEL (the Movement for Democracy in Liberia) went on offensive in the east.
The fighting soon made it impossible for aid organizations to bring supplies to civilians in eleven of Liberia’s 15 counties. A major humanitarian disaster was threatened. In May, the UN sanctions against Liberia were extended one year. The sanctions previously included an arms embargo, a diamond export ban and a travel ban for the country’s leaders. Now a ban on trade in timber from Liberia was allowed.
At the same time, the UN-backed war crimes tribunal in Sierra Leone brought charges against L President Charles Taylor for his involvement in the Sierra Leonean Civil War 1991-2002.
Since the rebels invaded Monrovia in early June, all parties signed a ceasefire agreement and agreed to begin negotiations on a unity government without Charles Taylor. However, new battles erupted since Taylor said he did not intend to leave until early January 2004. The townspeople had no way to escape and hundreds of civilians were killed.
At the beginning of August, a ceasefire agreement was finally signed and the formation of a unifying government. The West African collaborative organization ECOWAS began to send a peacekeeping force and on August 11, Taylor went into exile in Nigeria. He was provisionally succeeded by Vice President Moses Blah, after which businessman and politician Gyude Bryant was appointed to lead a transitional government, which took office in October.
In September, the UN Security Council decided to form a peacekeeping force of up to 15,000 men, the body of which will be made up of the approximately 3,500 ECOWAS soldiers. In December, the UN force began to collect the weapons of the rebels, but could not begin to enter rebel areas until the very last days of the year.
Sweden declared itself ready to send about 200 men to the UN force in early 2004. Despite the peace agreement, clashes and abuses on civilians continued throughout Liberia. The dangerous situation made all helpless transmissions impossible until now.
There were also reports that Charles Taylor had brought in over US $ 3 million in the national flight and that during his years as president since 1997 he had plundered the Treasury at close to US $ 100 million; half of what the state earned during that period.