Liberia: Vicar General warns of imminent catastrophe

 The Vicar General of the diocese of Monrovia, Father Harry O'Brien, made several desperate appeals to the international community over the weekend as civil war continues to rage in Liberia. Early in Saturday a mortar killed three people and injured many others sheltering in a church. Across the capital thousands of people have crowded into churches, schools and other public buildings while aid workers say the violence is preventing them from reaching them. "It is practically impossible to count the victims" Fr Harry, a Salesian priest, told the Missionary News Service. He spoke on a mobile phone because there was no electricity. "The peacekeeping force must arrive immediately, otherwise there will be a catastrophe. People need to realise that it is the poor and defenceless who are suffering in Liberia," he said. "The peacekeeping contingent was meant to arrive in June, following the truce between the government forces and the rebels, but there has been no sign of it, " Fr Harry said. "Yesterday, the west African countries said they would send troops to Liberia within a week: it's too late! They need to understand that here in Monrovia thousands of people are wandering about the city aimlessly in search of drinking water, food and shelter from the bombs. Their survival is a matter of days. Only once fighting has finished will it be possible to help these poor people, who are the real victims of this tragedy." Father O'Brien says he was forced to abandon the cathedral in the city centre, not far from Mamba Point, in which quarter the US embassy is also situated, because of bombardments by the rebels of LURD (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy), who have laid siege to Monrovia for eight days in an attempt to overthrow President Charles Taylor. Source: MISNA

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