The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Rebels active in Liberia

The Liberian government claims that 60,000 civilians were displaced in fighting between its forces and Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy--a group that's tried since 1998 to overthrow President Charles Taylor's government.

Their attacks have intensified since last September. When fighting broke out late last year in the northwestern part of the West African country, about 2,000, mostly women and children, sought food and safety at a refugee camp in Bopolu. When fighting closed in on that area, the refugees fled and the camp is now deserted.

One of the main nongovernmental organizations working in Bopolu, north of Tubmanburg, is the Lutheran World Federation Department for World Service. Its workers were the last to leave the Bopolu camp Dec. 8. They are setting up temporary shelter, water and sanitation facilities in the Tubmanburg area. The coalition, of which the LWF is a part, released $44,500 in rapid response funds to help those caught in this latest round of conflict.

The LWF has worked in Liberia throughout and since the country's civil war in the 1990s, working with the Lutheran Church in Liberia. Together, they have provided food aid, shelter, medical assistance and have helped rebuild community infrastructure and stimulate income generation.

More than 10,000 small metal crosses made from a cartridge casing by a group of ex-fighters have been distributed worldwide as a symbol of the healing and reconciliation program, another important LWF/LCL project.


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