Liberians pray as Charles Taylor leaves

 There were prayers in churches across Liberia yesterday, as President Charles Taylor handed over power to his deputy Moses Blah, and left the country. The Archbishop of Monrovia told the Missionary News Service: "The war in Liberia is not over yet, but we hope it will end soon," said Mgr Michael Francio, Archbishop of Monrovia. He said: "The efforts of mediators have given us great expectations, but only their assistance in the future will ensure that the hopes for peace of millions of Liberians are not disappointed. The people in this country still need all the assistance possible." Fr Mauro Armanino, regional superior of the Society of Missions of Africa (SMA), one of the few foreigners left in Monrovia, said: "Let us only hope that what opened today is not a chapter of the same book. The positive factor is surely the hope that can be read in the eyes of the Liberians, a light that even transpires a little optimism. Yesterday I celebrated Mass for sixty-some people with AIDS and you should have seen their joy when they told me that with Taylor's exit from the scene peace would finally return to the nation." "But for real change and not merely a new Cheetah, where everything changes to remain identical, the international and African communities must closely monitor the implementation of the accords reached in Ghana between the rebels and government". In the negotiations the sides in fact agreed on forming a transition government, to be named at the start of October, to guide the nation toward democratic elections. An administration which should also include all the exiles of the Liberian Diaspora, who Fr Armanino told MISNA they are: "the best minds of this nation". "If this should really occur, the rebels, and the people close to the Taylor government who will still be playing a role in the Liberian political scene, will no longer have room to manoeuvre and a new era may finally begin. Let us hope that the Liberians are not left alone, as happened over the past 15 years and that someone really help them to turn a new page." source: MISNA

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