Liberia strives for peace; believers deliver.

By September 24, 2003

Liberia (MNN)–Some 4,500 Liberian refugees have fled to Guinea’s southern forest region in the past 10 days to escape continued fighting and instability in the West African state, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
“The fact that Liberians continue to flee is very worrying. Many areas in Liberia are still very insecure … making it all the more urgent that peacekeepers be deployed throughout the country as soon as possible,” the agency said in a statement.

A 3,500-strong West African force is in Liberia but it operates mainly in the towns and cities. The United Nations has approved the sending of a further 15,000 peacekeepers, but they are unlikely to arrive for months.

World Vision’s Paul Sitnam says their teams are now back in-country after having been evacuated during the worst of the fighting. Their set-up now, he explains, determines how quickly the people recover.

“We’re looking longer term for people when they eventually go home, that we can accompany them back and help them re-integrate into their communities. That’s the longer vision. Right now, as I said, we’re doing the health work, and the work of distributing food to the displaced people in the country.”

Sitnam says through World Vision’s work, their teams share a bond in the hope of Christ with those they help. “…wherever the brother or sister is, to work with them, especially those that have been made vulnerable or are vulnerable by the recent conflicts. We feel in that way, we are practicing what God has asked us to do through his son Jesus Christ, is to help those that need the help the most.”

Some 200,000 people died in 14 years of almost uninterrupted fighting in Liberia that began when former President Charles Taylor launched a rebellion in 1989. Taylor went into exile in Nigeria in August as part of a peace deal.

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