New surge of fighting in Monrovia restricts MSF movement
9 June 2003
Increased fighting in Monrovia has forced the removal of three staff members from the Liberian capital. The past three days has brought some looting of hospitals and an increase in deaths and casualties. On Thursday morning (June 5) heavy fighting started in the northern suburbs of Monrovia. By Friday,Ã? LURD rebel fighters (Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy) crossed in to the capital. On Friday afternoon three out of the nine MSF expats from one team who had remained in Monrovia to work in Redemption hospital and Monserrado camps were evacuated to Freetown, Sierra Leone. All remaining MSF expatriate staff were sheltering in the European Union compound. An MSF car was hijacked however the driver released safely. On Saturday, the situation remained chaotic. Looting occurred in major parts of the city. MSF was able to return to its office and collect some essential materials. However reaching Redemption Hospital remained impossible as it would have meant crossing the front line. Liberian MSF national staff members in Redemption Hospital continued their work and were receiving and treating wounded people. On Sunday morning, the MSF team were back in their own compound. Looting continued and extended to the MSF-supported Island Hospital. Fortunately the MSF compound was spared. Redemption Hospital received 47 wounded and 17 dead and the team is conducting assessments in the city, trying to locate concentrations of displaced people.Ã? French army helicopters have arrived and will start evacuating people from Monrovia. How many MSF staff will stay depends on how the security situation develops in the rest of the day.