12 Dec. 95 - Responding to criticism that Liberia's peace process had stalled, warlord Charles Taylor said that, "We have
demined and opened up the roads to allow food convoys. Harmony exists in the council (collective presidency) because all
decisions have been reached by conssensus and no single vote taken, while the 26 Aug. 95 ceasefire is generally holding."
SITUATION - Dec. 95 - Liberia
has a problem with land mines but the severity of the problem remains unclear
major war factions have not turned over minefield records to either West African peace-keepers or the UN. Areas in the
south-east and north-west were still battlegrounds, and therefore inaccessible, when UNOMIL tried to survey the mine
problem in Feb. 95.
ECOMOG troops have been clearing roads
and areas frequented by their forces (in Oct. 94 two ECOMOG vehicles were
destroyed, and three troops killed, by mines planted on the Kakata-Bong Mines Road and Harbal Buchanan Road by NPFL fighters). In Jun. 95 two rival militias agreed to start clearing mines from the key highway between Kakata and Bong Mines in central Liberia. The United Liberation Movement (ULIMO) faction controls Bong Mines but the National Liberation Front (NPFL) has laid siege to the town of 60,000 for 10 months. The meeting was held under the auspices of ECOMOG
peace-keepers in the town of Kakata.
The Kakata-Bong Mine Road is still closed
because of mine incidents in Oct. 94. A UNOMIL team reported these existing
minefields in Mar. 95:
1) Grand Bassa County: LAC road and rubber plantation / 800 AT, 5,000 AP / Area not demarcated.
2) Rivercress County: Rivercress area / 250 AT, 1,000 AP / "
3) Lofa County: Voinjama / 150 AT, 2,000 AP / "
4) Lofa County: Foyakamura / 100 AT, 1,500 AP / "
5) Lofa County: Mandekome / 150 AT, 1,500 AP/ "
6) Sinoa County: Greenville / 200 AP, 2,500 AT / "
7) Maryland County: Harper / 50 AT, 1,000 AP / "
Number of Mines
18,250. Figure provided by the UN.
ECOMOG forces have a limited demining capacity. Liberia has no indigenous demining capacity.
BACKGROUND - Civil war erupted in 1989 between the government of President Samuel Doe and opposition forces. Doe's removal and murder precipitated a bloody power struggle that has left 300,000 dead. The three main power factions in Liberia are: the Government of National Unity (administering Monrovia, the capital, and environs); the National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL), which controls most of the country; and the United Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO).
In 1991 a West African peace-keeping
mission, ECOMOG, arrived in Monrovia . In Sep. 93 the United Nations Observer
Mission to Liberia (UNOMIL), 368 strong, intervened to provide humanitarian relief aid. In Aug. 95 there was a breakthrough
in the peace process. The heads of the Liberian militias agreed to serve on a ruling council to implement a peace process. All sides agreed to demobilize. By year's end 1995 a ceasefire was holding but disarmament of the factions had not yet occurred.
Inhumane Weapons Convention
Moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines
no Mines found in Liberia and their origins